Paramount's action tentpole G.I. Joe Retaliation debuted to a strong $80.3 million at the international box office, the biggest start of the year so far for any film and nearly double the opening earnings of G.I Joe: The Rise of the Cobra in the same markets in 2009.
Directed by Jon M. Chu, G.I. Joe features an international cast led by franchise newcomers Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis. The pic debuted to $51.7 million in North America for a global opening of $132 million.
G.I. Joe did particularly well in Russia, Latin America and Asia -- all markets where 3D remains a popular format. Among 2013 releases, the movie opened 10 percent ahead of Oz the Great and Powerful and 25 percent ahead of Willis' A Good Day to Die Hard.
Paramount and its partners on the sequel, MGM and Skydance Productions, raised eyebrows last year when pushing back the release of G.I. Joe from June 2012 until now in order to covert the film to 3D and add more scenes with Channing Tatum. Now, that move seems to have paid off.
The movie opened in a total of 54 territories representing 75 percent of the international marketplace. The only major territories left to open are China and Japan. Top openings included Russia ($11 million), South Korea ($6 million), Mexico ($6 million) and Germany ($4.5 million).
G.I. Joe placed No. 1 in a majority of countries, although it was bested in the U.K. by 3D animated tentpole The Croods.
From DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox, Croods opened in another five markets over Easter weekend, including the U.K., where it took in $5 million. The family film placed No. 2 internationally for the weekend, earning $52.5 million for a foreign total of $140.5 million and worldwide cume of $229.1 million.
Croods is likewise benefiting from being presented in 3D. In Russia, for example, 72 percent of the gross is coming from higher-priced 2D tickets.
Bryan Singer's tentpole Jack the Giant Slayer got a needed bump over the weekend, coming in No. 3 overseas with $25.2 million from 58 markets. But the foreign total of $96.4 million still doesn't put the New Line and Warner Bros. title in the black. The film opened in a number of key markets, including China, where it has earned a tepid $6.5 million in its first seven days.
Jack's global gross through Easter weekend is $157.7 million.
Disney's Oz the Great and Powerful jumped the $200 million mark at the international box office in its fourth weekend, taking in $22.2 million from 57 territories and pushing its global cume to $412.3 million, by far the best showing of the year so far.
Sci-fi thriller The Host, adapted from Stephenie Meyer's novel, opened to No. 5 internationally, grossing $6 million from 13 markets for a soft worldwide debut of $17 million. The project marks Meyer's first post-Twilight outing.
Twentieth Century Fox's international production division, led by Sanford Panitch, made headlines in Japan with the debut of animated pic Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods. Produced by Fox and co-distributed with Toei, Dragon Ball opened to $7 million.
It's the first Dragon Ball movie to have a theatrical release in 17 years, and is the first Japanese title to ever be released in IMAX Digital Theaters, taking in $450,000 on Saturday and Sunday.
Warner Bros. saw strong results in Mexico for comedy The Noble Family, which grossed $2 million as it expanded wide and pushing its cume to $4.3 million. Warners is distributing the movie for Alazraki Films.