'G.I. Joe' Opens Big with $132

Based on global opening, Paramount will develop third 'Joe'

Sometimes it pays to be bold. And judging by a $132 million worldwide opening haul, at least, Paramount certainly benefited from pushing “G.I. Joe: Retaliationback nine months to Easter weekend.

Bowing Wednesday evening, “G.I. Joe,” from MGM and Skydance Productions, collected an estimated $51.7 million domestically through Sunday. The 3D conversion added $80.3 million in overseas box office receipts, marking the year’s largest overseas debut. Pic launched day-and-date in 53 territories (or 75% of the international market). Not surprisingly, Russia led with an estimated $11 million, of which the majority came from 3D.

Based on the opening, Par already is in development on a third “G.I. Joe.”

The sequel’s domestic three-day debut, at $41.2 million, ranks as the second-best Easter opening, behind “Clash of the Titans.” Globally, “Retaliation” is 35% better than the first “Joe.”

“Internationally is where you really see the 3D upside,” Par vice chairman Rob Moore told Variety. “This opening really is a testament to the hard work that (Par prexy) Adam Goodman did with his team and the filmmakers.”

Domestic box office managed to stay in line with this time last year, a notable feat considering “Hunger Games” was in its second frame with nearly $60 million.

Helping carry the load was Fox-DreamWorks Animations’ sturdy family holdover “The Croods,” which collected an estimated $26.5 million, down just 39%. In 10 days, the toon has cumed $88.6 million Stateside. That’s just a touch behind “How to Train Your Dragon,” which reached $92 million after two weekends in 2010.

Also bowing this weekend, Lionsgate’s 14th Tyler Perry film, “Temptation,” overperformed with an estimated $22.3 million. Open Road’s teen-targeted sci-fi romancer “The Host” struggled, collecting just $11 million in three days. Both were expected to land somewhere in the mid-teens.

At the specialty box office, Focus Features’ festival pick-up “The Place Beyond the Pines,” starring Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper, saw a fantastic limited debut, averaging more than $67,000 from four locations. Pic totaled $270,184. “Pines” bowed two weeks ago in France, where it’s earned $4.5 million. Focus acquired domestic rights to the film last year at Toronto; Sierra/Affinity sold international rights.

“G.I. Joe,” which originally was skedded to bow June 29, marks the end of a busy (and for the most part, successful) March tentpole season: The leader, Disney’s “Oz the Great and Powerful,” nears $200 million Stateside, while “Jack the Giant Slayer” is petering out at $61 million domestically to date.

Concerning 3D, the main reason Par gave for moving “G.I. Joe,” the film scored 45%, of which Imax contributed 9% ($4.8 million). Internationally, the overall 3D share will be much higher, though the figure was unavailable Sunday.

The first “G.I. Joe” — “The Rise of the Cobra” (2009) — wound up grossing $303 million worldwide, split evenly between domestic and overseas. It’s not unreasonable for “Retaliation” to stay 35% ahead of “Cobra,” especially with the benefit of 3D (the original was 2D only). If that happens, “Retaliation” will cume roughly $410 million globally, with a $130 million production budget.

In some ways, domestic playability looks more promising for “Retaliation” with an A- CinemaScore. “Cobra,” on the other hand, benefited from a summer play period but received a B+ rating.

Students on spring break helped the market on a whole, but  “Joe” also scored with adults, skewing 68% male and over-25 auds contributing 59% of the opening.

“Temptation” scored the usual Perry fans in southern markets but also found new viewers, based on how past Perry pics performed. For instance, in Downtown Chicago at the Showcase Icon theater, “Temptation” outpaced the usual gross for a Perry pic by 70%. “The Good Friday bump really made a difference,” said Lionsgate distribution exec David Spitz.

The marital drama, starring Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Lance Gross, Kim Kardashian and Vanessa Williams, received an A- CinemaScore and ranks at the high-end of non-”Madea” Perry openings, below just “Why Did I Get Married Too?” ($29.3 million).

Meanwhile, the sluggish start for “The Host” is less concerning for Open Road since the company acquired rights to the pic for $2 million. The film, however, cost just north of $30 million overall after rebates, from financiers Inferno Entertainment and Silver Reel.

“The Host” is the latest string of projects from “Twilight” alumni — this time the author herself, Stephenie Meyer — that have struggled to resonate with its core teen demo. And while Meyer unquestionably has a smaller following than any of the “Twilight” lead actors, the scribe still has a substantial fanbase. Open Road exerted plenty of marketing muscle to attract fans of the book, as well as adults who might be drawn to the sci-fi action.

Aside from “G.I. Joe,” Fox-DWA’s “The Croods” performed well internationally, with $52.5 million from 59 markets. The toon has cumed almost $230 million worldwide, of which $140.5 million comes from overseas.

Fox also distributed the Japanese Toei Animation pic, “Dragonball Z,” which grossed an estimated $7 million in two days locally. Imax partnered on the release, contributing $450,000 from only 16 sites for a local per-screen average of $28,000.

Domestic

Film (Weeks in release): 3-day gross*; Locations; Per-screen average; Cume*; Percent change

  1. G.I. Joe: Retaliation (1): $41.2; 3,719; $11,078; $51.7; –
  2. The Croods (2): $26.5; 4,065; $6,519; $88.6; -39%
  3. Temptation (1): $22.3; 2,047; $10,894; $22.3; –
  4. Olympus Has Fallen (2): $14.0; 3,106; $4,507; $54.7; -54%
  5. Oz the Great and Powerful (4): $11.6; 3,324; $3,491; $198.3; -46%
  6. The Host (1): $11.0; 3,202; $3,436; $11.0; –
  7. The Call (3): $4.8; 2,439; $1,986; $39.5; -46%
  8. Admission (2): $3.3; 2,161; $1,505; $11.8; -47%
  9. Spring Breakers (3): $2.8; 1,379; $2,000; $10.1; -43%
  10. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (3): $1.3; 1,575; $825; $20.6; -70%

Overseas

Film (Weeks in release): 3-day gross*; Territories; Screens; Int’l cume*; Global cume*; Percent change

  1. G.I. Joe: Retaliation (1): $80.3; 53; 7,775; $80.3; $132.0; –
  2. The Croods (2): $52.5; 59; 12,350; $140.5; $229.1; -17%
  3. Jack the Giant Slayer (5): $25.2; 57; 11,000; $96.4; $157.7; +26%
  4. Oz the Great and Powerful (4): $22.2; 56; n/a; $214.0; $412.3; +2%
  5. Dragonball Z (1): $7.0; 1; 328; $7.0; $7.0; –

* in millions $

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