With all of the ninja-swiftness of Snake Eyes and the beefy muscle of new team leader Roadblock, “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” gunned down $41.2 million for a #1 debut at the box office this weekend. Bolstered by pricier 3-D tickets and the introduction of both Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Bruce Willis to the series, the action sequel (based on one of the most enduring action figure lines) earned $51.7 million overall in 3,719 theaters during Easter weekend.
Only 2010’s “Clash of the Titans” remake opened bigger during an Easter weekend, making “Retaliation” #2 on the all-time scorecard. While the movie’s debut was the highest-ever for Willis, the second highest for the Rock and the third highest for Channing Tatum (who passed the franchise baton in this one), the sequel still didn’t match the $54.7 million of the original, “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.” Still, the $80.1 million opening overseas for “Retaliation” was the biggest international debut of the year thus far. Industry analysts are in agreement that Paramount’s decision to move the film from last summer (in order to spend time post-converting to 3-D) paid off, as did the Johnson and Willis heavy marketing.
The weekend proved successful for Tyler Perry as well. “Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor” opened at #3 with $22.3 million, even without the benefit of the inclusion of Perry’s popular Madea character. Audiences who saw it gave the film an A- CinemaScore. However, critics panned “Temptation,” which features the acting debut of Kim Kardashian, “as nasal and awful an actress as you might imagine,” wrote TheWrap.com’s Alonso Duralde.
“The Host” was also savaged by critics. Despite author Stephanie Meyer’s beyond-impressive track record with “The Twilight Saga,” the first adaptation of one of her non-“Twilight” books only mustered $11 million in its debut, failing to break into the top five. “The Host” was adapted/directed by Andrew Niccol (“Gattaca”) and stars Saoirse Ronan (“Hanna”).
“G.I.: Retaliation” took its lumps as well, but there was one new film in theaters that’s been embraced by film critics. “The Place Beyond the Pines” opened in just four theaters (in New York and Los Angeles) and took in more than $270,184. The drama reunites Ryan Gosling with his “Blue Valentine” writer/director Derek Cianfrance, who worked on the script for five years. Gosling stars alongside Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes. The bank robber tale is set to expand further this weekend.
Last week’s #1 film, kid-friendly caveman cartoon “The Croods,” was #2 with $26.5 million. The DreamWorks Animation comedy has made $88.6 million thus far. “Olympus Has Fallen” was #4 with $14 million for a $54.7 million total. 2013’s first big blockbuster, “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” rounded out the top five with another $11.6 million. Disney’s prequel-of-sorts to the 1939 MGM classic has earned $198.2 million thus far and should cross the $200 million mark soon.
Check out everything we’ve got on “G.I. Joe: Retaliation.”