Weekend Box Office – G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA Dominates with $100 Million Worldwide Opening

     August 9, 2009

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Despite losing some steam between Friday and Saturday, “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cora” easily dominated the weekend with an estimated domestic take of $56.2 million and another $44 million from international markets.  That’s the good news for fans of the Real American Hero.  The bad news is that this week is as good as it gets for “Joe”…

Title Weekend Total
1 GI Joe $56,200,000 $56,200,000
2 Julie & Julia $20,100,000 $20,100,000
3 G-Force $9,800,000 $86,116,000
4 Harry Potter 6 $8,800,000 $273,800,000
5 Funny People $7,866,000 $40,417,000
6 The Ugly Truth $7,000,000 $69,088,000
7 Perfect Getaway $5,765,000 $5,765,000
8 Aliens in the Attic $4,000,000 $16,293,000
9 Orphan $3,725,000 $34,822,000
10 (500) Days of Summer $3,400,000 $12,343,000

GI Joe movie poster.jpgAfter a big Friday debut of over $22 million, “G.I. Joe” seemed to have its sights locked on a weekend haul north of $60 million.  Unfortunately for the studio, this was a mission Joe could not complete.  Call it the “Twitter Effect” or call it just-desserts for a film that was kept from a majority of critics until opening day.  Whatever the reason, “Joe” fell off by about 18% on day two for an estimated 3-day total of $56.2 million or $14,025 per screen.

Now don’t get me wrong – $56 million is nothing to sneeze at.  That total gets “Rise of Cobra” the title of second-biggest August opening for a non-sequel, behind 2002’s “Signs”.  But with a price tag of over $175 million and a less than reliable fanbase in many international territories, “G.I. Joe” will have a near-impossible time making it to that $300 million mark that Paramount envisioned.  Of course the studio is getting a cut of action figure profits from Hasbro’s new “G.I. Joe” movie-line, but it would look better for everyone involved if the film could make its money back the old-fashioned way – at the box office.

That box office was a bit kinder to the second wide-opener of the weekend, Sony’s “Julie & Julia”.  The biopic-wrapped-in-a-biopic skewed unusually old, meaning a majority of audience members were over 55.  Still, old-people money spends just as good and the Nora Ephron comedy ended its first weekend with over $20 million from 2,354 venues or $8,539 per screen.  That’s over half of the film’s $40 million budget in week-one and it continues this summer’s trend of above-average returns for moderately priced chick flicks.

funny_people_movie_poster.jpgWhich brings me to the week’s anti-chick flick: “Funny People”.  Universal cannot seem to catch a break this summer – even with audience-tested favorites like Sacha Baron Cohen and Judd Apatow.  Apatow’s latest, “Funny People”, has had a nice ride with critics and a brutal time with audiences – isn’t it always the way?  After one week at number one, “Funny People” was dealt a heavy blow, falling 65% to number five with a domestic total of only $40 million.  I happened to love this movie so I will stop short of calling this the director’s first bomb… but I’m in the minority on that one.

Number seven is where you’ll find another underperformer, the Rogue thriller “Perfect Getaway”.  The film opened Friday in 2,159 theatres where it could only drum up $973 per screen.  This is one movie that shouldn’t get too comfortable in the top ten.

Finally, after three weeks in limited release, Fox Searchlight has expanded its summer sleeper “(500) Days of Summer” into 817 locations.  With a per screen average of just over $4,500 I wouldn’t say that “(500) Days” is a huge draw – but, then again, this is the first week since June that neither “The Hangover” nor “Transformers 2″ has made the top ten. The little indie pic can take some pride in pushing the blockbusters aside, I guess.

Next weekend sees the release of Peter Jackson’s highly-anticipated “District 9″, which spells trouble for a film like “G.I Joe”.  Check back next week for the full fanboy fallout.

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