Dave Karger
September 11, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Resident Evil: Apocalypse took up residence at the top of the box office chart this weekend, premiering with a strong $23.7 million, according to studio estimates. That’s 34 percent higher than the $17.7 million the first Resident Evil film grossed in its opening weekend in 2002.

The video-game-inspired sequel was certainly helped along by a complete lack of competition. Kim Basinger’s new thriller Cellular trailed far behind with a lackluster $10.6 million, while a bunch of late-summer releases continued to peter out. Without a Paddle scored $4.6 million for third place, followed closely by Hero with $4.4 million. And The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement and Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid were in a virtual tie for fifth with $2.9 million each. Looks like summer’s box office numbers are as distant a memory as summer’s barbecues.

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