"G.I. Joe: Retaliation" is off to a solid start at the box office, taking in $2.2 million in early Wednesday evening and midnight shows.
Paramount's PG-rated action sequel opens officially on Thursday but got a jump on the long weekend with screenings at 7 and 9 p.m. Wednesday, taking the midnight-opening concept a step beyond the norm. Analysts expect "Retaliation' to dominate the Easter weekend box office and take in around $45 million over the four-plus days.
Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis and Channing Tatum star in the sequel to the 2009's "G.I. Joe: the Rise of Cobra." Paramount financed and produced the film with MGM and Skydance Productions in association with Hasbro, maker of the iconic toys upon which the film's characters are based. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Brian Goldner produced..
Retaliation originally was set to open last summer, but the studio pushed back the release in order to convert it to 3D and tweak Tatum's role.
The first 'G.I. Joe" film brought in about $300 million at the global box office, split almost evenly between domestic and foreign. The buzz and anticipation surrounding "Retaliation" has been as strong or stronger than for the first film, and analysts believe "Retaliation" should come close to that domestic total and exceed the foreign number.
"Retaliation" will open in 53 foreign markets this weekend, and that's where the studio's decision to convert to 3D could really pay off. The format is still something of a novelty in many countries, and the the percentage of 3D screens is very high.
D.J. Cotrona, Byung-hun Lee, Adrianne Palicki, Ray Park, Jonathan Pryce and Ray Stevenson costar.