The highly anticipated sequel to the Riddick trilogy opened this weekend and despite the film being a disappointment, Vin Diesel flexed his box office muscle to take the lead over the weekend. With competition at a minimum, Diesel and David Twohy’s revisit to the science fiction favorite easily took first place in terms of sales figures.
Riddick was the only new “nationwide” release over the weekend and it pulled in $18.7 million in ticket sales. It beat out previous favorite The Butler, which came in second place with $8.9 million and Instructions Not Included came third pulling in, according to studio estimates, $8.1 million over the second week of its release.
The third in the Riddick trilogy brought Vin Diesel and David Twohy back together for what was claimed to be a return to the roots of the convict worth more dead than alive. In the original film, Pitch Black, the outcast was on route to prison after being caught by a mercenary named Johns.
By the end of the first film, Riddick rides off with two other survivors in an abandoned spaceship. The second in the trilogy, The Chronicles of Riddick, introduced Riddick to a race of “superior” beings called Necromongers who destroy worlds. The eye polished convict takes over as leader of the Necromongers and by the end of the film he is pondering his new destiny.
In the third installment, Riddick, Vin Diesel has been tricked by the Necromongers and left to die on a hostile planet. After he has been left to perish, he realizes that he has grown soft as the leader of the Necromongers and he retrains himself. While getting his edge back, he adapts to the new planet.
When he realizes that the planet is due to become even more inhospitable, he sets off an emergency beacon on a deserted mercenary outpost. Two groups arrive and one of them includes the father of the mercenary Johns in Pitch Black.
With death all around him, Riddick does what he does best.
The film performed well enough for Vin Diesel and David Twohy to flex their cinematic muscle, albeit weakly, to come in first over the weekend. In spite of the overall disappointing feel of the film, it was entertaining enough to pull out in front of an unexciting weekend for cinema.
On paper the idea for Riddick looks great. Unfortunately it is a pale rehash of Pitch Black that suffers from slow pacing and a boring plot. The first film was a superb ensemble film with “journeymen” actors who turned in rich character filled performances.
Riddick feels like a “paint-by-numbers” version of the superior first film in the trilogy. With the inclusion of too much female nudity and an “in-joke” that references the Fast & Furious film franchise, it seems that Twohy realised that the third return to the “Riddick” well would prove a dry return.
Had the film opened against strong competition, it would have died a dismal death at the box office. Considering that Lee Daniels’ The Butler still managed to come in second place after opening back on the August 16, Riddick only came in first place on the idea of Vin Diesel returning to a loved role and very little competition.
While Vin Diesel flexed his box office muscle in the US with Riddick placing number one in the box office, despite a disappointing film overall, it should do better in the UK. Vin Diesel has a huge fanbase in England and although the box office results are not in for the country at this point, the film should do quite well, even if it does not come first.