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'Resident Evil: Retribution' takes box office with $21M

Still of Milla Jovovich in the 2012 film 'Resident Evil: Retribution.' (Courtesy of Davis Films/Impact Pictures (RE5) Inc. and Constantin Film International GmbH)

September 16, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A wave of evil swept through the weekend box office.

"Resident Evil: Retribution" took the top spot in its debut weekend, pulling in an estimated $21.1 million domestically. The 3-D action thriller starring Milla Jovovich is the fifth film in the "Resident Evil" franchise.

The victory was a bit of a surprise to some analysts who predicted the 3-D re-release of "Finding Nemo" would come out on top. Instead, the Disney-Pixar film finished second with $17.5 million.

Paul Thomas Anderson's cult drama "The Master" commanded a huge following in its opening weekend, smashing records on just a handful of screens.

The Weinstein Co. release made $729,745 in five theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a record-setting per-screen average of $145,949. The hugely anticipated film, which will open in more cities in upcoming weeks, stars Philip Seymour Hoffman as a charismatic cult leader and Joaquin Phoenix as his wayward protege.

Top 10 films of the weekend:

1. "Resident Evil: Retribution," $21.1 million ($50 million international).
2. "Finding Nemo," $17.5 million.
3. "The Possession," $5.8 million.
4. "Lawless," $4.2 million.
5. "ParaNorman," $3 million.
6. "The Expendables 2," $3 million ($7.5 million international).
7. "The Words," $2.88 million.
8. "The Bourne Legacy," $2.875 million ($9.1 million international).
9. "The Odd Life of Timothy Green," $2.5 million.
10. "The Campaign," $2.4 million

The Associated Press contributed to this report.