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'Resident Evil' Moving In On DVD

18 Jun, 2002 By: John Gaudiosi

With more than 18 million units of its video game series sold worldwide, the movie Resident Evil fared predictably well at the U.S. box office, recouping the $40 million cost of production during its domestic theatrical run.

A prequel to the game franchise, Resident Evil should also do well on DVD, thanks to the millions of game fans who made the GameCube Resident Evil remake a bestseller in May. Capcom, the game maker of the Resident Evil franchise, will ship an additional three games this year exclusively for Nintendo's game console, beginning with its own prequel, Resident Evil Zero, in November, followed by Resident Evil 2 and 3 in December.

While the initial DVD release won't receive the type of treatment that previous video game-to-movie releases like Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider did, the studio is working on a more extensive, features-laden edition to be released sometime in the next six months.

“The special disc will have the actor/director/producer commentary, featurettes on the making of the movie, the scoring of the movie with Marilyn Manson, a piece on the costumes, a segment on the set design and a piece on the undead makeup, as well as the Slipknot music video for ‘My Plague,’ said Jeremy Bolt, the film's producer.

For those not familiar with the game, the Resident Evil movie opens up the game's horror mythology, adding plenty of sci-fi to the mix. Director Paul Anderson, who turned the Mortal Kombat game into a hit movie, locked himself in a room with the four video games and played through them all to immerse himself in the world.

“When you boil it down, Mortal Kombat was Enter the Dragon meets Jason and the Argonauts,” said Anderson. “Resident Evil is a new high-tech take on the zombie movies of the early '80s. I must have seen Dawn of the Dead 25 times. And I was able to update the zombies for today's audiences.”

“We wanted Resident Evil to appeal to more than just the game players,” said Bolt. “We wanted to have two strong female characters to broaden the audience beyond gamers. In watching the film, we follow the mechanics of a game. Every three minutes or so, a character has a decision to make: Do you open the door or not? And there are consequences.”

The young cast Impact Pictures assembled for the movie signed on to the project because of their love of the video game franchise.

“I loved the video games. I played every one,” said Michelle Rodriguez, who plays Rain. “I loved the puzzle aspects of the games. I'd always end up dropping the controller at some point out of fright. The way they're so quiet and subtle and the old architecture all add to scary experience. The games are like a good Hitchcock film.”

Milla Jovovich, plays zombie-fighter Alice. “My 13-year-old brother thinks I'm a god now,” she said. “I love Resident Evil [the game]. I'd sit watching my brother play for five hours a day. My friends and I would yell at him and give him advice — ‘Don't go there! No! Go there!' When I heard about this movie, I couldn't imagine anyone else playing Alice, so I went for it.”

With the success of the first film and the continued success of the video game franchise, there's already discussion of a theatrical sequel. In the meantime, the DVD will give a broader audience a chance to see the sci-fi/horror action, and will likely generate additional interest in the games, even though the July release does include extras.

The special edition disc includes five exclusive featurettes, animated menus, scene selections, theatrical trailers, filmographies and production notes.

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