Jon M. Chu's G.I. Joe: Retaliation opened to a pleasing $132 million at the worldwide box office, one of the best showings ever for the Easter holiday and marking the top international debut of the year so far.
G.I. Joe took in $80.3 million overseas and $51.7 million domestically, including $41.2 million for the weekend proper, the second-best domestic Easter gross behind the 2010 Clash of the Titans ($61.2 million). Internationally, G.I. Joe opened 10 percent ahead of Oz the Great and Powerful, which debuted earlier this month to $69.9 million.
In North America, Paramount opened the action bonanza -- headlining franchise newcomers Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis -- on Thursday to get a jump on the holiday weekend. The sequel, earning an A- CinemaScore and fueled by males, came much closer than expected to matching the $54.7 million bow of G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra, which opened in early August 2009.
Overseas, the sequel is doing double the business that Cobra did (that film opened to $92 million globally). It's doing especially well in Russia ($11 million), Latin America and Asia, where 3D remains a popular format.
The successful opening of G.I. Joe vindicates Paramount for deciding to push back the film's release from summer 2012 in order to convert it to 3D and refashion Channing Tatum's role. Originally, his character was killed off, but after the star's box-office status surged thanks to The Vow and 21 Jump Street, Paramount and its partners decided to make the character's fate more ambiguous.
"Clearly this was a movie that felt like it should be in 3D, so Jon Chu went back and did an excellent job in making that happen," said Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore. "Certain parts of the story also needed to be massaged, and Adam Goodman and his team worked with Jon to get it to a great place."
Paramount financed and produced the film with MGM and Skydance Productions in association with Hasbro. Producers are Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Brian Goldner.
The studio says it minimized its risk overall by keeping G.I. Joe's budget to roughly $130 million; Cobra cost at least $175 million. Paramount put up half the money for the sequel, while MGM and David Ellison's Skydance each put up a 25 percent share.
Animated event pic The Croods, from DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox, jumped the $200 million mark in its second weekend. The family pic came in No. 2 domestically, grossing $26.5 million for a 10-day cume of $88.6 million. Overseas, Croods took in $52.5 million for a worldwide total of $229.1 million.
Opening on Good Friday in North America were writer-director Tyler Perry's sultry thriller Temptation -- a marked departure from the filmmaker's comedic fare -- and director Andrew Niccol's sci-fi thriller The Host, adapted from Twilight author Stephenie Meyer's novel.
From Lionsgate, Temptation opened to a pleasing $22.3 million to place No. 3. million.
Fueled by female moviegoers and receiving an A- CinemaScore, Temptation stars Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Friday Night Lights) as a restless marriage counselor who begins a dangerous affair with a social media mogul (Robbie Jones). Lance Gross, Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Williams also star.
Lionsgate targeted women and African-Americans in marketing the film. The studio also took advantage of Kardashian's celebrity profile.
It is the fourth Perry film that Lionsgate has released over Easter weekend.
The Host, starring Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons and Jake Abel, opened to a so-so $11 million. Coming in No. 6, the film received an B- CinemaScore.
Open Road Films is distributing the film on behalf of producers Nick Wechsler, Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz and Inferno Entertainment. Meyer also is a producer and has tirelessly promoted the project, which marks her first post-Twilight outing.
Set in a society where parasitic aliens known as "Souls" inhabit humans, The Host is appealing primarily to females (Meyer's fan base). The story follows a "Soul" who finds it impossible to entirely banish the human girl she inhabits.
Among holdovers, Disney's Oz the Great and Powerful jumped the $400 million in its fourth weekend of play at the global box office. The tentpole has now earned $198.3 million domestically and $214 million internationally for a total $412.3 million, by far the best showing of 2013 to date.
Derek Cianfrance's The Place Beyond the Pines, starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes, made headlines at the specialty box office. Opening in four theaters, the Focus Features film grossed $285,000 for a location average of $72,364, easily the best average of Easter weekend.
Below are the top 10 estimates for the March 29-31 weekend at the domestic box office.
Title, weeks in release/theater count, studio, three-day weekend total, cume
1. G.I. Joe: Retaliation, 1/3,719, Paramount/MGM/Skydance, $41.2 million, $51.7 million
2. The Croods, 2/4,046, Fox/DreamWorks Animation, $26.5 million, $88.6 million
3. Tyler Perry's Temptation, 1/2,047, Lionsgate, $22.3 million
4. Olympus Has Fallen, 2/3,106, Lionsgate/Millennium, $14 million, $54.7 million
5. Oz the Great and Powerful, 4/3,324, Disney, $11.6 million, $198.3 million
6. The Host, 1/3,202, Open Road Films, $11 million
7. The Call, 3/2,439, Sony/TriStar, $4.8 million, $39.5 million
8. Admission, 2/2,161, Focus Features, $3.3 million, $11.8 million
9. Spring Breakers, 3/1,379, A24 Films, $2.8 million, $10.1 million
10. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, 3/1,575, Warner Bros./New Line, $1.3 million, $20.6 million