Sony plans to entice femme auds with 'Julia'

Paramount’s “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” marches into theaters Friday, with Par and toymaker Hasbro hoping to create a new fanboy franchise.

“G.I. Joe” is sparking strong interest among both young and older men, as well as some curiosity among younger femmes, according to tracking. It opens in 3,500 theaters domestically and in a number of markets overseas.

Far from the fanboy trenches, Sony will try to entice women over 25 with Meryl Streep-Amy Adams starrer “Julie and Julia,” which opens in 2,354 runs domestically.

Also opening this weekend is Rogue Pictures thriller “A Perfect Getaway,” distributed by Universal and going out in 2,159 runs.

Fox Searchlight’s “500 Days of Summer,” which expands from 267 to 818 runs, could spell trouble for “Getaway,” since both will rely heavily on teen eyeballs.

Offbeat romantic comedy “500 Days,” which opened July 17 in 27 theaters, is already one of the most successful specialty releases of 2009. Cume through Tuesday was $8.2 million.

As an event pic based on an original property, “G.I. Joe” is an unusual choice for an August release. In recent years, mostly sequels and three-quels, such as last year’s “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” or “The Bourne Ultimatum” the year before, have occupied the late-summer berth.

G.I. Joe began as a Hasbro action figure, which was then adapted for a comicbook series. The property saw a major shift in the early 1980s, when the original team of U.S. military operatives were joined by elite forces from around the globe.

In adapting the property for the bigscreen, Paramount played up the international angle, casting actors from several countries and setting the film in locales including Egypt and Paris.

While actioners often generate more box office overseas than domestically, the pic could have a bumpy ride in some parts of Europe because of local attitudes toward the American military.

Heavy on CGI effects, “G.I. Joe” cost $175 million to produce. Spyglass Entertainment co-financed, while Lorenzo Di Bonaventura produced.

Paramount decided not to screen “G.I. Joe” for reviewers except for a select group of online media. Earlier this summer, Par’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” did blockbuster business despite generally withering reviews. The studio also is being conservative in buying print media, opting to concentrate on opening weekend ads.

Box office observers suggest that “G.I. Joe” could open north of $50 million, but with the unpredictable nature of tracking in recent months, no one’s making a firm wager. Stephen Sommers (“The Mummy”) directed.

“Julie and Julia,” directed and written by Nora Ephron, is based on two books: Julia Child’s “My Life in France” and Julie Powell’s cooking memoir that started as a blog, “Julie and Julia.”

Sony insiders expect the pic, which cost $38 million to produce, to open in the high teens.

“A Perfect Getaway” was financed and marketed by Relativity Media’s Rogue Pictures. U is distributing via its service deal with Rogue. The adventure-thriller stars Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich as a young couple who take a honeymoon backpacking trip in Hawaii.

On the specialty front, Overture opens 2009 Sundance fave “Paper Heart” in 38 theaters in select markets. The docu-feature hybrid stars Charlyne Yi as she sets off across America to discover what love is all about, meeting Michael Cera along the way.

IDP/Samuel Goldwyn opens Paul Giamatti-Emily Watson dramedy “Cold Souls” in seven theaters.

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