Paramount's 3D action sequel "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" is proving worth the wait at the box office, for both moviegoers and the studio.
The second film in the franchise based on the world's most-famous toy soldier took in an estimated $15.5 million Friday. That, coupled with the roughly $12.7 million it brought in from Thursday and unusual early Wednesday shows, puts it on track for a four-day opening weekend that could hit $50 million.
Last week's No. 1 film, DreamWorks Animation's family film "The Croods," was running second, on pace for $27 million over the three days, with "Tyler Perry's Temptation" third, and looking at a three-day total of around $22 million. The weekend's other wide opener, the adaptation of "Twilight" author Stephenie Meyers' novel "The Host," was in a battle for fourth and is on track for a $12 million three-day haul.
Newcomers Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis join Channing Tatum atop the cast in 'Retaliation," sequel to 2009's "G.I. Joe: the Rise of Cobra."
"Retaliation" is on 3,719 screens nationwide -- more than 3,000 of which are 3D and another 302 Imax -- and audiences gave it an "A-' CinemaScore. Paramount is hoping positive word of mouth will help on Saturday and Sunday, when family crowds are expected to turn out, rather than the franchise's ardent fans who drove large parts of the first two days' grosses.
The $130 million "Retaliation" originally was set to debut last summer, but the studio pushed back the release in order to convert it to 3D. That provides a box-office boost because of the surcharges theaters charge, particularly overseas where the format's popularity is still on the rise. "Retaliation" is opening in 53 foreign markets as well this weekend.
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.
"The Croods" was holding strongly. It remains in a market-high 4,065 theaters and it took in $10.7 million Friday for distributor Fox. If it stays on that pace it will drop less than 40 percent in its second week.
"Tyler Perry's Temptation" opened with $9.4 million on Friday and first-night audiences gave the film an "A-." If it can pull in $22 million for the weekend, it will be the highest gross for a Tyler-directed film in which he did not appear as an actor.
It will also continue Perry's streak of solid Easter weekend openings. "Why Did I Get Married Too?," "Madea's Big Happy Family" and "Meet the Browns" all opened between $20 million and $30 million.
Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Robbie Jones co-star in the erotic thriller, which features reality star and marketing marvel Kim Kardashian in a supporting role. First night audiences gave it a "A-" CinemaScore.
The weekend's other wide opener, sci-fi thriller "The Host," took in $5.5 million for distributor Open Road Films on Friday. The teen-targeting adaptation received a "B-" CinemaScore from its audiences.
It was running a little behind last week's surprisingly strong No. 2 film, "Olympus Has Fallen," which held pretty well despite competing for the action crowd with "G.I. Joe." The Film District release took in $4.8 million Friday and is on track for more than $13 million over the three days.
Disney's "Oz the Great and Powerful" took in $4.2 million and should wind up with around $10 million for the three days and its domestic total stands at $191 million in its fourth week of release.
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