Weekend Box Office (March 29 - 31, 2013)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Testosterone ruled the Easter frame as the 3D action sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation opened at number one, but Tyler Perry's latest offering Temptation also scored a strong debut of its own in third place. The animated holdover The Croods held up well in its second weekend pulling in families over the school holiday helping the box office beat Easter business from the past two years.

Paramount topped the charts with the franchise hit G.I. Joe which debuted to $40.5M over the Friday-to-Sunday period and $51M since its launch on Wednesday night with 7:00pm shows, according to final studio figures. The PG-13 flick averaged a muscular $10,891 from 3,719 locations over the three-day weekend period with 45% of the business coming from 3D screens including 303 IMAX sites which kicked in $4.8M.

Though definitely a strong opening, the 4.5-day figure still came in below the $54.7M three-day non-holiday opening of its 2009 predecessor G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. The first pic was released over the busier summer period in 4,000+ locations but the sequel had higher 3D prices and added starpower from Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis. Channing Tatum, who played a central role in the first film, had a more supporting role in the followup which was delayed from its original June 29, 2012 date.

But Retaliation should still be a big moneymaker thanks to a smaller production budget ($130M vs $175M) and substantial growth from international markets which should more than make up for domestic shortfalls allowing the new film to finish higher than Cobra's $302M global final.

Domestically, the bullet-filled action pic skewed heavily male as expected. Studio research showed that males made up 68% of the crowd while 59% were 25 or older. Reviews were weak - standard for these types of sequels - but audiences liked what they paid for as the CinemaScore grade was an encouraging A-.

Joe kicked off its run with $10.5M on Thursday, including $2.2M from Wednesday night shows. The Good Friday holiday saw sales climb 46% to $15.3M, Saturday was up 1% with $15.5M, and Easter Sunday dipped by 38% to $9.7M. Action sequels like these tend to be front-loaded but the domestic final should be able to break $100M and possibly end near the $110M mark. Cobra grossed $150.2M.

Retaliation really saw its good fortune from overseas markets which generated an estimated $80.3M debut resulting in a spectacular global opening of $131M this weekend. Compared to the same markets for Cobra, Retaliation's opening was nearly twice as big thanks in part to 3D prices and key markets becoming more lucrative since 2009. Russia led the way with $11M, Korea banked $6M, and Mexico scored $6M. The new Joe still has 25% of the world to come including China on April 15 and Japan on June 8 so a worldwide haul of $400M is possible.

Families flocked to the animated comedy The Croods over the Easter school holidays as the DreamWorks pic grossed $26.7M, sliding 39% in its second weekend. Compared to other spring toons with the bunny holiday helping the sophomore frame, the pre-historic family dropped a little harder than 2011's Rio (33%) and 2010's How To Train Your Dragon (34%), but fell a little less than 2008's Horton Hears a Who (45%).

With a sturdy $88.9M in ten days, Croods should be able to keep its momentum going for weeks to come since there are absolutely no kidpics with G or PG ratings opening for nearly two months. A final domestic tally of about $160M could result making it the best performance for a DreamWorks Animation non-sequel since Dragon. Overseas, Croods used the holiday to bank a sizable $52.5M from 59 markets shooting the international total to $230M. Global is $297M and will smash $300M on Monday.

The Tyler Perry brand showed off its strength and durability with the impressive debut of the infidelity drama Temptation which opened to $21.6M from 2,047 theaters for a stellar $10,572 average. That was almost identical to G.I. Joe's average. Rated PG-13, Temptation delivered the best opening ever for a Perry film that wasn't a sequel or featured his signature Madea character. Plus it was the tenth Tyler Perry film (ninth as director) over eight years to debut north of $20M. Despite having so much content, the filmmaker's fans continue to come out and spend on his new offerings.

Temptation was positioned a bit more as an erotic thriller which made it look like something a bit different. The audience breakdown was similar to past films from the mogul - 70% female and 79% 25 and older. Easter has been used successfully many times in the past to launch new Perry films and it worked for Lionsgate yet again as the fan base came out in better than expected numbers. The gross even doubled the opening of last fall's Alex Cross which featured Perry as just an actor and in the title role. The CinemaScore was an A- and Perry's fourteen films over the past eight years have now grossed a stunning $696M domestically with all carrying modest budgets.

The White House kidnapping thriller Olympus Has Fallen dropped a large 53% thanks in part to a new action tentpole hitting the marketplace. Gerard Butler's hit film grossed $14.1M raising the ten-day total to a sturdy $54.9M for FilmDistrct heading to an impressive final in the $85M vicinity. Flirting with the double century mark, Disney's Oz the Great and Powerful took in $11.7M on Easter weekend, down 46%, for a $198.4M domestic total. Thanks to a new opening in China (official figures not yet released, but estimated to be near $10M over three days), the franchise flick grossed an estimated $22.2M from overseas markets boosting the international cume to $214M and the worldwide haul to $412M on its way to the $500M mark.

The critically-panned sci-fi romance The Host failed to pull in business from Twilight fans and finished outside the top five in sixth place with $10.6M. Averaging a dull $3,310 from an aggressive release in 3,202 locations, the PG-13 pic was based on the best-selling book by author Stephenie Meyer which followed her mega-successful vampire saga. Critics trashed the Open Road release and fans decided to skip this one. The target audience consisted of young females and its B- CinemaScore indicated not much satisfaction from those ticket buyers that did come out.

The Halle Berry hit The Call dropped 45% to $4.9M giving Sony $39.6M to date. Tina Fey followed with a similar 47% decline for her new comedy Admission which grossed $3.2M putting Focus at a disappointing $11.7M.

The bikini-girls-with-guns pic Spring Breakers ranked ninth with $2.8M, off 43%, and a modest $10.1M overall for A24. Tumbling 69% in its third round was the all-star comedy flop The Incredible Burt Wonderstone which collected $1.3M. Warner Bros. has taken in a weak $20.6M and won't finish with much more.

Red hot actor Ryan Gosling returned to the big screen in the platform release The Place Beyond The Pines along with co-star Bradley Cooper and found sensational results with $279,457 opening from just four theaters for a scorching $69,864 average. Focus will expand beyond New York and Los Angeles next weekend with 13 additional markets and will go nationwide on April 12. The R-rated drama earned good reviews from critics.

The top ten films grossed $137.6M which was up 19% from last year's Easter frame when The Hunger Games stayed at number one for a third time with $33.1M; and up 20% from 2011's holiday when Rio remained in the top spot with $26.3M in its sophomore session.

Compared to projections, G.I. Joe was on target with my $41M Friday-to-Sunday forecast while Temptation rose well above my $16M prediction. The Host fell below my $15M projection.

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Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Evil Dead and Jurassic Park 3D both open.

# Title Mar 29 - 31 Mar 22 - 24 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 G.I. Joe: Retaliation $ 40,501,814 3,719 1 $ 10,891 $ 51,008,689 Paramount
2 The Croods 26,705,868 43,639,736 -38.8 4,065 2 6,570 88,887,945 Fox
3 Temptation 21,641,679 2,047 1 10,572 21,641,679 Lionsgate
4 Olympus Has Fallen 14,147,416 30,373,794 -53.4 3,106 2 4,555 54,890,085 FilmDistrict
5 Oz the Great and Powerful 11,702,316 21,568,957 -45.7 3,324 4 3,521 198,374,716 Disney
6 The Host 10,600,112 3,202 1 3,310 10,600,112 Open Road
7 The Call 4,925,675 8,900,935 -44.7 2,439 3 2,020 39,605,891 Sony
8 Admission 3,235,263 6,154,984 -47.4 2,161 2 1,497 11,744,141 Focus
9 Spring Breakers 2,774,146 4,858,944 -42.9 1,379 3 2,012 10,074,435 A24
10 The Incredible Burt Wonderstone 1,343,025 4,321,388 -68.9 1,575 3 853 20,629,646 Warner Bros.
11 Identity Thief 1,098,215 2,588,355 -57.6 1,082 8 1,015 129,916,105 Universal
12 Jack the Giant Slayer 1,019,062 2,949,101 -65.4 1,080 5 944 61,399,384 Warner Bros.
13 Silver Linings Playbook 900,927 1,585,071 -43.2 752 20 1,198 128,712,563 Weinstein Co.
14 Snitch 444,457 1,885,200 -76.4 746 6 596 41,353,859 Lionsgate
15 Life of Pi 427,260 720,257 -40.7 340 19 1,257 123,321,125 Fox
16 Safe Haven 387,754 1,137,864 -65.9 550 7 705 69,811,436 Relativity
17 Quartet 382,271 578,043 -33.9 302 11 1,266 16,599,664 Weinstein Co.
18 21 and Over 302,777 1,028,521 -70.6 344 5 880 24,952,089 Relativity
19 The Place Beyond The Pines 279,457 4 1 69,864 279,457 Focus
20 Escape From Planet Earth 235,117 477,522 -50.8 977 7 241 53,927,096 Weinstein Co.
Top 5 $ 114,699,093 $ 110,638,406 3.7
Top 10 137,577,314 127,241,394 8.1
Top 20 143,054,611 134,072,204 6.7
Top 20 vs. Easter 2012 143,054,611 119,761,462 19.4

Last Updated: April 1, 2013 at 5:05PM ET

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