EXCLUSIVE: Resident Evil: The Final Chapter has already grossed $35 million in Japan where it opened at No. 1 on December 23. Now, with more territories in Asia and Latin America rolling out this weekend, it’s poised to push the Sony/Screen Gems franchise across the $1B global box office mark. The cume on the franchise through Wednesday was $954M.
Sony is estimating The Final Chapter has a $30M weekend ahead of it internationally to bring the global total to upwards of $80M by the end of the three-day. It’s also bowing domestically at 3,104 locations, soaring in Thursday night previews with $1M. Among new markets this frame are Korea, France, Germany and Brazil.
Early on in the 15-year-old series, the pics spread out at about 60%-40% international versus domestic. That’s shifted to a weightier overseas pull since 2010’s Afterlife with that film and 2012’s Retribution taking about 80% of box office from offshore turnstiles where video game movies excel. Afterlife is thus far the biggest grosser of all at $296M global, followed by Retribution at $240M.
Josh Greenstein, President of Worldwide Marketing and Distribution at Sony Pictures, tells me, “Resident Evil is an event film internationally… It’s been five years since the last film, and the global fanbase has been eagerly anticipating its return. Screen Gems has created the highest-grossing video game-based franchise of all time. We look forward to a strong rollout.”
The Final Chapter’s Japan opening came after it world premiered in Tokyo (with 400K live viewers on Line, the biggest social network in Japan) and landed it ahead of the week-earlier start of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. At $9.65M, it is the highest-ever debut for a Resident Evil movie in Japan (+112% over Retribution and +110% over Afterlife). The franchise typically overindexes there, particularly thanks to Japan being the IP’s provenance. This is also the top market on each of the previous installments.
Elsewhere, it’s matching or besting openings of the previous films in key territories; globally, it’s expected to be the biggest Hollywood title during the Lunar New Year holidays which begin tomorrow. Korea opened on Wednesday to $405K, 20% above any of the earlier titles in admissions terms. Indonesia was also strong with a $303K opening day at 53% over the previous high for the franchise and 40% higher than World War Z. Last weekend, Malaysia digested The Final Chapter with the biggest opening of the series at No. 1 with $1.2M.
From Screen Gems, Constantin Film, Davis Films and Impact Pictures, The Final Chapter is inspired by the Capcom video game and directed by veteran Paul W.S. Anderson. It picks up immediately after the events in Retribution with Alice (Milla Jovovich) the only survivor of what was meant to be humanity’s final stand against the undead.
Now, she must return to where the nightmare began — The Hive in Raccoon City — where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse.
Also returning are Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts and Iain Glen. Newcomers to the franchise include Ruby Rose, Eoin Macken, Japanese television personality and model Rola, Korean actor Lee Joon-Gi, Fraser James and William Levy.
Jovovich, Larter, Levy and Anderson did a multi-country tour to help get the word out, including cities in Brazil, Hong Kong (for Cine Asia), Japan, Mexico, Korea and Taiwan. They head to Russia next month.
On the international marketing front, Sony smartly cast social influencers from around the world to appear in the film and take part in the epic final zombie battle. The influencers then acted as brand ambassadors throughout the global marketing campaign.
Sony also released the first AI bot ever done for a fictional character (the Red Queen AI) across Facebook and international messaging apps Line and Snow to hit the biggest regions in five languages. There was also a Sony Haptic shooting gallery featured at the Los Angeles international junket, with stops in Spain and India. And, screenings were held around the world for influencers, bloggers, gamers and fans.
Pics’ producers are Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, Robert Kulzer and Samuel Hadida. Martin Moszkowicz and Victor Hadida are executive producers.
Spain and the UK head to The Hive next weekend with Italy, Russia and China later in February.