The latest entry in the hit Resident Evil global franchise opened well enough to secure number one spot above Buena Vista’s re-release of one of Pixar’s most enduring stories Finding Nemo, replete with a 3D retro-fit.

Paul W S Anderson returns to direct Retribution, as he did on the first and fourth episodes of the five-strong zombie horror series starring his wife Milla Jovovich. IMAX Corp sources expected their large format screens to bring in approximately $3m over the weekend, rising to $6.1m worldwide with the $3.1m international haul.

Finding Nemo 3D managed a respectable $17.5m in second place. For the record the original film grossed $357.2m in North America and $533m internationally for an $890.2m global take.

Warner Bros’ The Dark Knight Rises slipped out of the top ten for the first time in nine weekends and ranks eleventh on $441m.

The Expendables 2 surged past $80m in its fifth weekend in release through Lionsgate, while Focus Features’ ParaNorman. CBS Films’ Toronto 2011 acquisition The Words fell to number seven and stands at a lacklustre $9.2m after two weekends.

The Weinstein Company debuted The Master from Paul Thomas Anderson starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams and the saga about a battle of wills between a cult leader and a drifter started well, grossing $730,000 from five venues for a mesmerising $146,000 per-site average.

Roadside Attractions released the drama Arbitrage starring Richard Gere, Brit Marling and Susan Sarandon. The Sundance acquisition arrived in twelfth place on a very solid $2.1m from 197 theatres.

Millennium Entertainment opened the Nicolas Cage action thriller Stolen on $204,000 from 141 sites and IFC Films released Liberal Arts, another Sundance pick-up, on $30,000 from four venues. China Lion debuted Bangkok Revenge on $25,000 from 22 and Anchor Bay opened the comedic drama 10 Years on $23,300 from three.

Paramount’s Raiders Of The Lost Ark re-release has amassed $2.8m on IMAX in two weekends. The studio said last week it was extending the theatrical run to more than 300 digital theatres in North America.

Next weekend brings three genre films from the independent space aimed squarely at the multiplex crowd. Dredd stars Karl Urban and opens through Lionsgate, while the police thriller End Of Watch with Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena screened in Toronto and debuts through Open Road. Jennifer Lawrence stars in the horror release House At The End Of The Street, which opens through Relativity Media. Warner Bros launches Robert Lorenz’s feature directorial debut Trouble With The Curve starring Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake.

Estimated Top 10 North America Sept 14-16 2012
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (-) Resident Evil: Retribution (Sony / Screen Gems) SPRI $21.1m –

2 (-) Finding Nemo 3D (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $17.5m –

3 (1) The Possession (Lionsgate) Lionsgate Int’l $5.8m $41.2m

4 (2) Lawless (TWC) FilmNation $4.2m $30.1m

5 (5) ParaNorman (Focus Features) FFI $3.039m $49.3m

6 (3) The Expendables 2 (Lionsgate) Lionsgate Int’l $3.030m $80.3m

7 (4) The Words (CBS Films) Parlay Pictures $2.9m $9.2m

8 (6) The Bourne Legacy (Universal) UPI $2.9m $107.8m

9 (7) The Odd Life Of Timothy Green (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $2.5m $46.3m

10 (8) The Campaign (Warner Bros) WBPI $2.4m $82.9m