RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION takes number 1 at the box office but THE MASTER breaks a record.

For a franchise that is more used to bigger domestic box office takes, the opening week for RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION may have won it first place, but not without a few whimpers.

While RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE pulled in $26 million in 2010, the series’ fifth entry only took in $21 million.  Add in $50 million overseas, and the film has already made back what producers spent with a $65 million budget.

Coming in 2nd was Disney/Pixar’s classic FINDING NEMO 3D with $17.5 million.  That number ranks NEMO third among the two other Disney 3D re releases (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST with $17.8 Million and THE LION KING with $30.2 Million).

Yet the story of the week by far is the performance by Paul Thomas Anderson’s THE MASTER, which grossed $730,000 in just FIVE theaters.  That  $146,000 per theater gross shattered MOONRISE KINGDOM’s record of $130,759 per theater as an exclusive release.  The film is now set to expand to hundreds of other theaters over the next two weekends.

Finishing out the top five was the horror film THE POSSESSION  with $5.77 million this week, the Tom Hardy/Shia LaBeouf violent drama LAWLESS with $4.35 million, and the action packed sequel THE EXPENDABLES 2 which took home another $3.15 million.

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