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G.I. Joe vanquishes competition

By BLOOMBERG

This article was published April 5, 2013 at 2:42 a.m.

Luke Bracey stars as Cobra Commander in G.I. Joe: Retaliation. The film came in first at last weekend’s box office and made more than $40 million.

LOS ANGELES - G.I. Joe: Retaliation, a sequel to the 2009 film about elite U.S. commandos, opened in first place in U.S. and Canadian theaters, taking in $40.5 million for Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures.

The Croods, from DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., dropped to second place from first with sales of $26.7 million, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said Sunday. The Host, based on a novel from Twilight author Stephenie Meyer, was sixth in its debut with $10.6 million.

Paramount released G.I. Joe: Retaliation on a weekend with little competition for the young males who turn out for PG-13 action adventures. The studio is getting a jump on a summer release schedule crowded with other big-budget, action films, including new Iron Man, Star Trek and Man of Steel films. G.I. Joe cost about $135 million to produce, according to researcher Box Office Mojo.

“I think the quality of the films this year hasn’t matched last year’s,” said Jeff Bock, senior box-office analyst at Exhibitor Relations. “But summer’s a great equalizer.”

In the new G.I. Joe installment, the troops battle a government plot to destroy their team, along with mortal enemy Cobra. Dwayne Johnson stars as Joe team member Roadblock. Adrianne Palicki plays trooper Lady Jaye and Channing Tatum returns from the first film as Duke. The film cost about $135 million to make.

“This is pretty huge for this time of year,” Bock said.

The picture was expected to generate $37.5 million in opening sales, according to the forecast of Boxoffice.com. The film is based on Hasbro Inc.’s action figures. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and David Ellison’s Skydance Productions are co-producers.

The Croods, about a prehistoric family of cave dwellers, features the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds. The film follows the sometimes dysfunctional family, led by Cage’s character, as they seek a new life after a shift in Earth’s crust destroys their home.

DreamWorks Animation is looking for a comeback after Rise of the Guardians flopped in November, resulting in an $87 million write down for the Glendale, Calif.-based studio. News Corp.’s 20th Century Fox distributes films for DreamWorks Animation.

“I expect this one to hold up really well during the spring, since there’s no major animated film expected until Memorial Day,” Bock said.

Temptation, also new last week, was third with $21.6 million. The film features Jurnee Smollett-Bell as a marriage counselor who escapes boredom with her husband by having an affair with a client. The movie, from Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., also features Vanessa Williams and Kim Kardashian. Tyler Perry wrote, directed and produced the movie.

Olympus Has Fallen, a thriller about terrorism from the independent distributor FilmDistrict which got bad reviews, fell to fourth from second, taking in a little more than $14 million. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, the movie features Gerard Butler as a Secret Service agent saving America from a band of North Koreans who capture the White House, shoot up Washington and threaten the president.

In The Host, Earth is invaded by parasitic aliens who inhabit the bodies of humans. Saoirse Ronan plays a young woman whose inner strength helps her wage a mental battle against the entity seeking to control her body and mind. Max Irons, Diane Kruger and William Hurt co-star.

MovieStyle, Pages 32 on 04/05/2013

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