Box Office: G.I. Joe Earns $132 Million Worldwide, The Croods Remains Strong, And The Host Signals The End Of Stephenie Meyer’s 15 Minutes

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The Rock has no need for an AR-15.

Apparently G.I. Joe: Retaliation didn’t have a best if used by date. That might explain why it didn’t flop this weekend when it may very well should have. Having been pushed back from its original release date of summer 2012, and getting some bad press because of delays and notices of reshoots to incorporate a few more scenes with an actor who may have had three films gross over $500 million that spring. In fact, when Paramount decided to postpone G.I. Joe it was done five weeks before its summer debut. When the original came out in 2009 it made $54.7 million for its weekend opening. Retaliation, even with inflation and 3D-enchanced prices, could only obtain a $41.2 million weekend, and a $51.7M four day opening. Yet, where the film will succeed is internationally. Its overseas debut of $80.3 million is a 2013 high. Which is funny because as the story line of the film goes, the U.S. President calls for a complete nuclear ban from all nuclear foreign countries only to go on and level London. How’s that for diplomacy?

Whether or not Retaliation can meet or exceed the $150M G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra made is to be determined, but Paramount better hope that the film plays like gangbusters in the US, since it ceded the international rights to MGM. As Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Last Action Hero Jack Slater might say, “Big mistake.” For now it looks like this could be the third film franchise that Dwayne Johnson has helped due to his charisma. While his singular vehicles (see Snitch) may not make it into triple digits, it seems he has no problems ensuring that established franchises/brands reach exceed that plateau.

Personally, as much fun as it was to play with G.I. Joes as a kid and have them doing unbelievable feats, I’d much rather have seen Hasbro and Paramount make a film with a grounded, real-world approach. But I guess this is what you get when you have the filmmakers behind Van Helsing and a Step Up movie give us these G.I. Joe movies.

Dropping to second, but maintaining good returns, is 20th Century Fox’s The Croods. The animated cavefamily comedy is on par with DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon, having grossed $88 million in its first two weeks. That’s so appropo, since both films were directed by Chris Sanders. Having finally gotten the opportunity to see it, I must say that I was thoroughly impressed. Great visuals (I love that renowned cinematographer Roger Deakins served as a visual consultant) and story matched with a talented vocal cast make for an enjoyable action comedy jaunt. Not bad for DreamWorks Animaton’s first outing under the Fox banner.

If Easter weekend proved anything it’s that one should never lose faith in Tyler Perry’s earning power. He has one of the biggest brands in Hollywood. And while it looked like the facade was peeling, it, like the Big Guy, has been resurrected. It used to be that if it was a Perry movie that didn’t feature him in drag, then there was a more than 50/50 chance that it would fail. His Madea movies are his golden goose; his other films are minor hits. So the the $20 million success of Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor, which does not feature Perry on screen, continues to show how successful the brand can be. It is the tenth Perry film to open above $20 million, and all have been produced cheap enough to make a profit. You can’t say that for most directors. Knowing that his films skew toward Christian themes, I’m wondering how much of that opening was due in part of the cult of celebrity of one Kim Kardashian, who is famous for being famous.

Olympus Has Fallen flat, after a decent $30 million haul last weekend. A Dwayne Johnson franchise-saving movie will do that. FilmDistrict is getting what they can out of this title, but methinks it will be Roland Emmerich and his White House Down that will have the last laugh. Granted, WHD could very well be like that Emmerich film that seems to be forgotten. You know the one; in between the success of The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 there was 10,000 BC. However, the star wattage of Channing Tatum and Jamie “Django” Foxx could get butts in the seats.

So The Host came out this weekend and it got a critical drubbing. When Scott Sawitz says that it makes Twilight look like Shakespeare then you know it must be pretty bad. If anything it proves that Stephenie Meyer’s 15 minutes are up, and that Twilight fans won’t flock to a property just because it features the likes of Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart or Taylor Lautner, or because it was written by Meyer. What disappoints me the most is that this is the second feature in a row where writer/director Andrew Niccol has scored a dud. And he had been one of those filmmakers where I’d anticipate his next work, after writing The Truman Show, his directorial debut Gattaca, and the Nicolas Cage-starring Lord of War.

Oz: The Great and Powerful is close to $200 million domestically with a worldwide total of $412M. Before anyone starts thinking sequel, Disney still must mull over the fact that the film cost close to $250 million before print and advertising costs. And if The Lone Ranger fails this summer, scoring numbers similar to John Carter, Disney will have to rely on his big acquisition Marvel to bring in the big bucks Iron Man 3.

While James Franco is okay in Oz, you must see him in Spring Breakers. Finishing the weekend in ninth place, further expansion did nothing for its audience, seemingly cut in half due to word of mouth. Frankly, it’s one of those movies that will be interpreted in different ways depending on the viewer, but one can’t discount Franco’s performance as a Flordia drug dealer who has an odd fascination with accumulating a lot of stuff (or “shee-it” as he calls it) and a love for Brittany Spears.

In limited release, Ryan Gosling’s The Place Beyond the Pines scored $270k at four locations, while the Drafthouse Films release Wrong got a tepid response of $18k at sixteen thetaers. If you can’t see it in theaters, it’s available on VOD right now.


Weekend Box-Office Top Ten for March 29 – March 31, 2013

1. G.I. Joe: Retaliation (Paramount) – $41.2 MILLION ($51.7m cume)

2. The Croods (Fox/DreamWorkds) – $26.5 MILLION ($88.6m cume)

3. Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (Lionsgate) – $22.3 MILLION

4. Olympus Has Fallen (FilmDistrict) – $14 MILLION ($54.7m cume)

5. Oz The Great and Powerful (Disney) – $11.6 MILLION ($198m cume)

6. The Host (Open Road) – $11 MILLION

7. The Call (Sony Pictures) – $4.8 MILLION ($39.4m cume)

8. Admission (Focus Features) – $3.25 MILLION ($11.75m cume)

9. Spring Breakers (A24) – $2.75 MILLION ($10m cume)

10. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (Warner Bros) – $1.3 MILLION ($20.5m cume)

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