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'RE2' is resident at No. 1

September 13, 2004|R. Kinsey Lowe | Times Staff Writer

Her name is Alice and she's still got game.

That's pretty much all the intended audience needed to know about Milla Jovovich's character, who again battles virus-infected zombies in "Resident Evil: Apocalypse," which topped the weekend box office.

The second installment in what Screen Gems now considers a franchise, "Apocalypse" lives because of the original film's success -- a $100-million worldwide take and roughly 2 million DVDs sold domestically -- and because of a sizable fan base that first bought into the concept via the popular Capcom video game series.

"Apocalypse" made an estimated $23.7 million, better than the $17.7 million the first film made its opening weekend in March 2002.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday September 14, 2004 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 30 words Type of Material: Correction
Screen Gems affiliation -- A story on "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" in Monday's Calendar said that TriStar Pictures oversees Screen Gems. Both Screen Gems and TriStar are divisions of Sony Pictures.

"We started marketing a year ago to the date, when we launched the teaser trailer with 'Underworld,' " said Valerie Van Galder, president of TriStar Pictures, which oversees Screen Gems.

Not surprisingly, going into the weekend research indicated the audience was primarily made of fans of the game and action and horror movie enthusiasts. Although demographics for "RE2" skewed heavily male, females are well represented in the roughly 18-30 crowd, Van Galder said. "Young girls are drawn in because of the strong female protagonists."

"Milla is phenomenally credible as an action hero," Van Galder added. Indeed she is, even if the movie careens deep into the hokey zone when some other characters open their mouths.

But it's the kitsch-factor that gamers live for, according to Screen Gems President Clint Culpepper. All of which means Alice's climactic, barehanded womano a mano with "nemesis," an (almost) invincible mutated bioweaponoid creature, is expected to be a crowd pleaser even if it didn't wow the critics.

With the inclusion of another strong female character, Jill Valentine, played by Sienna Guillory, Van Galder said, "There's plenty of girl power."

"The same holds true for 'Ultraviolet,' " she added, which is due next August and also stars Jovovich as a subversive heroine.

Does this mean there'll be an "RE3"?

"It's a big franchise for this company," Van Galder said, but "that depends on how well this one does. Never say never."

Culpepper said that screenwriter Paul W.S. Anderson was already developing an idea for No. 3. Like the creatures in the films, a franchise can always be resurrected.


(Begin Text of Infobox)

Box Office


Preliminary results based on studio projections.

*--* Movie 3-day gross Total (millions)


*--* Resident Evil: Apocalypse $23.7 $23.7

Cellular $10.6 $10.6

Without a Paddle $4.6 $45.6

Hero $4.4 $41.7

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement $2.9 $89.3

Anacondas: The Hunt For the Blood Orchid $2.9 $27.7

Vanity Fair $2.8 $11.2

Collateral $2.7 $92.6

Napoleon Dynamite $2.7 $30.4

Paparazzi $2.6 $11.8


Source: Nielsen EDI Inc.


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