GI Joe Retaliation Bruce Willis

3D actioner opens in 53 international territories

Paramount embarks on an extended pre-Easter opening of the long-delayed “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” starting Wednesday evening with 7 p.m. Stateside screenings. The pic’s front-loaded debut, as a last-minute push to boost quarterly revenues, could add at least $100 million worldwide to studio coffers before the quarter ends on Easter Sunday.

The global debut, which has 53 international day-and-date territories (or 75% of the overseas market), looks to include a $40 million-$50 million four-day domestic start. The 3D pic’s upside will come from overseas, with such major markets as Russia, the U.K., France and Australia bowing this weekend. “Retaliation” also has Imax to goose grosses.

MGM and Skydance Productions were co-producers on the film.

The decision to squeeze as much as possible out of the opening week, when many kids and teens are out of school, is a financially savvy one. And, fanboy pics like “Retaliation” tend to be front-loaded anyway. The last “G.I. Joe” just slightly doubled its domestic opening in 2009, with $152 million, and nearly matched that internationally.

Paramount’s fiscal year begins Oct. 1; March 31 will be the end of the studio’s second quarter.

Par had only two other releases this quarter: “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” and “Top Gun” in 3D. The latter contributed only $3 million, while “Hansel and Gretel” wound up profitable, with a $50 million budget (not including marketing) and more than $211 million in worldwide grosses.

In its quest toward profitability, “G.I. Joe” will need to gross at least $350 million globally. The pic cost $130 million to produce and Par likely spent another $60 million, at least, in marketing costs.

It’s entirely possible for “G.I. Joe” to hit that mark, especially with the added benefit of a 3D upcharge (particularly overseas). The 3D conversion was the primary reason Par stated for bumping “G.I. Joe” from June to its current date. Emerging markets China and Russia will be major contributors to the format. Pic launches April 15 on the mainland.

Par was able to use 3D as a marketing ploy; it also centered its global campaign on stars Dwayne Johnson, Channing Tatum and Bruce Willis. International stars Byung-hun Lee and Elodie Yung could boost the pic’s international prospects.

Also opening nationwide Friday are Open Road’s teen-targeted Stephenie Meyer adaptation “The Host” and Tyler Perry’s marital drama “Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor,” from Lionsgate.

Major o’seas territories for “G.I. Joe”:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • South Korea
  • Mexico
  • Russia
  • Spain
  • U.K.

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