09/17/2012 09:31 am ET

'Resident Evil' Box Office Continues To Grow

Paul W.S. Anderson's "Resident Evil: Retribution" opened in first place at the box office over the weekend, raking in $21 million in ticket sales. That news might come as a surprise to those who haven't been keeping up with the "Resident Evil" franchise.

"Retribution" -- which, like "Resident Evil: Afterlife" was released in 3D -- is the fourth straight "Resident Evil" film to finish in first place at the box office during its opening frame. Since the release of "Resident Evil" in March of 2002, all five films in the franchise have grown internationally: $62 million, $78 million, $97 million, $236 million. "Retribution" opened in 50 territories overseas and grossed an estimated $50 million, more than "Resident Evil: Afterlife" earned during its first salvo. That puts the fifth film in this franchise on course to top $236 million internationally. All told, the "Resident Evil" films have earned almost $1 billion in worldwide box office.

One reason "Resident Evil" may become one of the quietest $1 billion franchises in the history of Hollywood is that domestic audiences have cooled on the films; per EW.com, "Resident Evil: Retribution" sold the fewest tickets of any film in the series thus far. Not that Sony, the studio behind the "Resident Evil" franchise, minds too much: As U.S. grosses are slowly waning, international ticket sales are booming. Think of "Resident Evil" like an R-rated zombie version of "Ice Age," a franchise that is more important to overseas audiences than those here in the States.

All of which is to say, Paul Thomas Anderson wasn't the only Paul Anderson to have a good weekend at the box office.

[Numbers via Box Office Mojo]

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