“Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City” Fails to Really Bite the Box Office!

Resident Evil Welcome to Raccoon City trailer
Claire and Leon in “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City” (Screengrab: Trailer)

The box office numbers for the Thanksgiving weekend are in and it looks like Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City failed to impress critics and audiences, debuting around $5.3 million over the weekend.

When the promotional material for Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City was released, certain fans immediately realized that something was wrong. I was very concerned about how cheap the entire thing looked. Apparently, the production budget for this film was $25 million. However, that’s no excuse to make a feature-length movie come across as a fanmade project on the big screen. A good creative team could have still figured out a way to make the limited budget work for a horror-action offering.

Not only that, but the promotional content also touted how the RE: Welcome to Raccoon City director and co-writer Johannes Roberts was a big fan of the game series and took creative liberties with a bunch of iconic characters. I’m all for updating old franchises to boost their appeal for current moviegoers. But there’s a difference between making changes to the source material to do something interesting and making changes just because you want to leave a mark.

Even though the Milla Jovovich-starring RE film series isn’t without fault, you can’t deny that it made a lot of money at the box office and had a distinct visual style. Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, RE: Welcome to Raccoon City featured changes that did the narrative no favor.

Trying to tell a story by mashing the lore from the Resident Evil 1 and Resident Evil 2 games was the first mistake. Such a combination had the script dealing with Chris Redfield, Claire Redfield, Leon Kennedy, Jill Valentine, Albert Wesker, and the Birkin family without having runtime to flesh out the cast across the board. It was disheartening to see someone like Sherry Birkin, an important character in RE 2, just exist in RE: Welcome to Raccoon City. That little girl was given nothing to do. Frankly, the creative team should have tried combining RE 0 and RE 1 with RE 2 and RE 3 being adapted for the sequel.

The creative liberties taken with the main cast made me roll my eyes quite a lot. There’s more or less no warmth to Claire anymore. Claire’s now somewhat of a conspiracy theorist. She isn’t even the one to protect Sherry. Wesker’s been given a “heart” for some reason. The movie doesn’t do anything to really explore Chris’s feelings after learning about the truth William Birkin was hiding.

Jill’s been turned into a (kind of) mean girl who is trigger happy. Leon’s a highly incompetent rookie who always feels tired. Unlike Jill, Leon does go through a bit of character development. But then again, taking a competent character from the source material and making them incompetent in the adaptation just so they can be good at something (that they should already be good at) during the closing moments of the story isn’t actual character development. It’s lazy writing.

Also, it’s kind of interesting that white fictional characters like Jill and Leon were able to handle stuff in the source material. But when they were being portrayed by PoC in the current live-action adaptation, they weren’t displayed to be as capable or level-headed? Hmmm. I wonder what that’s about.

At this point, I don’t think anyone can convince me that Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City wasn’t created just so the studio could continue holding onto the film rights for the RE franchise. Watching the film was such a bad experience, I didn’t even feel like wasting my time by writing an actual in-depth review for it. 

According to Box Office Mojo, after debuting around $5.3 million over the weekend, the R-rated RE: Welcome to Raccoon City grossed $8.8 million in its first five days. As of writing this, the worldwide collection is approximately $14 million. I will be very surprised if this reboot gets a sequel.

As a Resident Evil fan, I’m disappointed. I was looking forward to enjoying a new film series that’s more horror-centric and true to the source material. Sigh!

I guess it’s back to the drawing board.

Here’s the US domestic box office for the weekend of November 26-28, 2021:

  1. Encanto – $27.2 million (New!)
  2. Ghostbusters: Afterlife – $24.2 million
  3. House of Gucci – $14.4 million (New!)
  4. Eternals – $7.9 million
  5. Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City – $5.3 million (New!)
  6. Clifford the Big Red Dog – $5 million
  7. King Richard – $3.2 million
  8. Dune – $2 million
  9. No Time to Die – $1.7 million
  10. Venom: Let There Be Carnage – $1.5 million

Did you watch Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City? What did you think of it?

Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.


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