EInsiders.com : : : Reviews | DVD | Inside Scoop | Box Office | Interviews | Columns | Obits | Contests

Sunday, August 9, 2009

'G.I. Joe' posts fourth biggest August bow with $56.2m, August 7-9, 2009

Against the better judgment of film critics, many of whom were kept out of pre-release screenings thanks to a cheeky move by Paramount to give bloggers and fanboy sites first crack at reviewing their latest toy-to-screen adaptation, young male moviegoers flocked heavily to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, giving the big-budget actioner the fourth largest August debut in history with $56.2 million. Meryl Streep's well-received Julie & Julia also beat expectations in second with $20.1 million.

Thanks to a massive marketing push and an ultrawide launch in 4,007 theaters across North America, Paramount's $175 million budgeted toy commercial G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra posted the fourth biggest August opening in history with $56.2 million, averaging a fantastic $14,025 per theater. Only 2007's The Bourne Ultimatum ($69.3m), 2001's Rush Hour 2 ($67.4m), and 2002's Signs ($60.1m) have opened bigger. Knowing full well the critical drubbing they took for their last toy-to-movie pic Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Paramount showed the Stephen Sommers directed pic only to a limited number of critics (mainly bloggers and critics from fanboy outlets). The stunt apparently worked, as Friday's Rottentomatoes.com score sat in the high 80% range before plummeting to 37% this weekend.

Thanks to a massive $22.3 million Friday haul, Joe handily beat expectations in the mid-$40m range. The film did see an 18% drop in sales from Friday to Saturday, an ominous sign that legs may not be there for this latest popcorn fare. With its mostly day-and-date release across the globe, G.I. Joe bowed with $44 million internationally, pushing its worldwide take this weekend to $100 million. Don't look for the pic to break even domestically.

Offering counterprogramming to the mindless action-fest that is G.I. Joe, Sony's well-reviewed Meryl Streep-Amy Adams starrer Julie & Julia opened strong in second with $20.1 million, also handily beating expectations. Launching in 2,354 theaters, the PG-13 pic averaged a healthy $8,539 per theater. While the debut didn't match last summer's musical smash Mamma Mia!, which bowed with $27.8 million, the $38 million budgeted pic saw an encouraging 17% jump in ticket sales from Friday to Saturday, indicating strong word of mouth. Look for a healthy domestic run for the film.

Falling 44% to $9.8 million was Disney's 3D actioner G-Force, which finished third once again this weekend. In three weeks the fx-laden family comedy has grossed $86.1 million. The film should have no trouble crossing $100 million by the end of its run.

Falling one spot below G-Force was Warner's blockbuster sequel Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which fell 50% to $8.9 million. Despite the big drop the film is still running ahead of 2007's Order of the Phoenix, and has amassed $273.8 million in four weeks of release. Budgeted at a massive $250 million, the film has an excellent shot at breaking $300 million domestic to become the second highest grossing film of 2009. Internationally the film took in another strong $22.3 million, bringing its total to $541.8 million. That puts its worldwide total at a jaw-dropping $815.6 million and counting.

The second weekend for Judd Apatow's Funny People wasn't funny at all, as the Adam Sandler-Seth Rogen pic fell 65% to $7.9 million in fifth place. The $75 million budgeted R-rated comedy has grossed $40.4 million to date. At its current pace, the film will finish well short of Apatow's The 40-Year-Old Virgin with $109.2 million and Knocked Up with $148.8 million.

No comments: