Ali Larter and Milla Jovovich in 'Resident Evil: Afterlife'

The box office was a wonderland for Alice, Milla Jovovich's zombie fighter, in 'Resident Evil: Afterlife.' In what was surely the least suspenseful box office contest of the year, the fourth 'Resident Evil' film easily grabbed the No. 1 spot on the chart with an opening estimated at $27.7 million, a record for the franchise.

Why so big? Could be the positive word of mouth. Could be the 3-D and IMAX surcharges. Or it could be that there were no other new wide-release movies this week. Still, the movie's take is even better than the $25 million or so that many pundits predicted.

'Takers' continues to impress, actually climbing one rung to second place in its third weekend of release. It earned another estimated $6.1 million, with the highest per-screen average ($2,784) of any wide-release movie except 'Resident Evil.' The heist drama has nabbed a total of $48.1 million to date.
Ali Larter and Milla Jovovich in 'Resident Evil: Afterlife'

The box office was a wonderland for Alice, Milla Jovovich's zombie fighter, in 'Resident Evil: Afterlife.' In what was surely the least suspenseful box office contest of the year, the fourth 'Resident Evil' film easily grabbed the No. 1 spot on the chart with an opening estimated at $27.7 million, a record for the franchise.

Why so big? Could be the positive word of mouth. Could be the 3-D and IMAX surcharges. Or it could be that there were no other new wide-release movies this week. Still, the movie's take is even better than the $25 million or so that many pundits predicted.

'Takers' continues to impress, actually climbing one rung to second place in its third weekend of release. It earned another estimated $6.1 million, with the highest per-screen average ($2,784) of any wide-release movie except 'Resident Evil.' The heist drama has nabbed a total of $48.1 million to date.

The AmericanFalling hard were last week's two new killer thrillers. George Clooney's 'The American' lost 55 percent of its business and fell from the top spot to third place, probably because of disappointed word-of-mouth from moviegoers who'd been led to expect an action-packed spectacle instead of a contemplative, brooding, European-style drama. Its second-week take was an estimated $5.9 million. Meanwhile, 'Machete' fell even harder, dropping 63 percent to an estimated $4.2 million. It also dropped two spaces, landing at No. 4.

Holding on in fifth place was 'Going the Distance.' The Drew Barrymore romantic comedy slipped 44 percent to an estimated $3.8 million, for a two-week total of just under $14 million.

The full top 10:
1. 'Resident Evil: Afterlife,' $27.7 million (3,203 screens), new release
2. 'Takers,' $6.1 million (2,191), $48.1 million total
3. 'The American,' $5.9 million (2,833 screens), $26.7 million
4. 'Machete,' $4.2 million (2,678), $20.8 million
5. 'Going the Distance,' $3.8 million (3,030), $14.0 million
6. 'The Other Guys,' $3.6 million (2,246), $112.7 million
7. 'The Last Exorcism,' $3.5 million (2,731), $38.2 million
8. 'The Expendables,' $3.3 million (3,058), $98.5 million
9. 'Inception,' $3.0 million (1,583), $282.4 million
10. 'Eat Pray Love,' $2.9 million (2,339), $74.6 million

•Follow Gary Susman on Twitter @garysusman.