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American film critic Roger Ebert gave the film a one star review, criticising it as a blatant copy of George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead, finding the Undead in Resident Evil to be noticeably "graceless" in comparison. Ebert also panned the film script for a lack of small talk, with all dialogue being exposition, exclamations or military commands. Brad Abraham of Rue Morgue was equally unsatisfied by the characterisation, commenting that there was little empathy for characters about to die due to lack of characterisation, summing up the plot as character exposition, character death, a Zombie fight and back to more character exposition.
Resident Evil opened with a $17.7 million opening weekend. The second weekend's haul was down to $6.7 million and at the third weekend, it had nosedived down to $2.9 million. It fell out of the Top Ten after only 2 weeks, dropping from appearing at over 2,500 screens down to just 67. Still, with a production budget of $32 million and a domestic gross of $40 million ($102 million worldwide), it is seen as a success and has spawned four sequels (2014).