Box Office: “Resident Evil” “ends” with a bang — almost, “Dog’s Purpose” limps in

boxA huge Thursday night had box office prognosticators thinking “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter,” would “go out” with a bang. Then again, maybe Variety and others were just trolling for gamer traffic.

But Friday proved otherwise, and it’s slated to hit about $12 million, in the middle of the pack of this weekend’s top ten films. It may be on track to become the biggest hit in this 15 year old video game film series. Probably not, though.

Yeah, they’ve all sucked. But familiarity trumps originality with this audience. It might be the end of this series. But maybe not. Don’t take the title’s word for it.

The opening of “A Dog’s Purpose” drew protests from PETA and others on its opening night in some cities. I saw very few walking into it at one of the busiest theaters in the Regal Cinemas chain on Thursday night. More people were there to see “Resident Evil.”

But “Purpose” seems headed to $18 million this weekend. Families immune to the viral video of a dog being forced to jump into a raging water tank for a rescue scene, and nearly drowning in the process, are expected to make this a Saturday matinee hit. It’s not very good, but if you take kids, maybe they’ll appreciate all the canine carnage — dog deaths.

The Weinstein Co. might have had Oscar delusions about Matthew McConaughey’s work in “Gold.” Those went by the wayside as this “inspired by true events” tale of prospectors and big money and foreign government machinations and the like, directed by the fellow who gave us “Syriana,” never amounted to much. Joyless, thrill-free, etc.

So they dumped its wide release in late January and called it a day. It barely cracked the top ten. McConaughey’s first serious misstep since his Oscar. About $3 million is the most they can hope for out of this.

“Hidden Figures” just cleared $100 million, or will by midnight Sunday. Good news for a high-minded feel-good real history dramedy.

“Split” is holding enough audience to win its second weekend at the box office. “xXx” is dying a speedy death.

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