Turns out putting Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson into the lead role is a good idea to keep a franchise going. G.I. Joe: Retaliation soldiered into the top spot over Easter weekend, piling up $41.2 million over three days and bringing the four-day cume to $51.7 million. Retaliation didn’t quite set the record for Easter weekend — those bragging rights belong to 2010′s Clash of the Titans ($61.2 million) — and it didn’t quite match the opening of G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra‘s $54.7 million bow in 2009. But Johnson and Channing Tatum’s starpower helped keep the attrition from the poorly received Cobra to a minimum. Plus, the overseas figures are far out-pacing Cobra, bringing Retaliation to a healthy $132 million global total, roughly matching the $130-plus million budget for Paramount. Not surprisingly, the testosterone-heavy action pic attracted a 61 percent male crowd who gave it a strong “A–” CinemaScore.
Also having a good Friday and good run in general was Dreamworks’ animated Stone Age comedy The Croods, which grossed $26.5 domestically in its second weekend and sailed past the $200 million mark internationally for a 10-day total of $229.1 million. Tyler Perry turned far away from Madea with his steamy thriller Temptation, which paid off for Lionsgate with a voluptuous $22.3 million. Starring Friday Night Lights‘ Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Kim Kardashian, who brought the film outsize media attention, Temptation didn’t reach the heights of Madea’s Big Happy Family opened ($25.3 million) or Why Did I Get Married Too? ($29.3 million), which were both sequels, but it did outperform industry expectations. Tyler Perry’s name still means money, even if precedes the full title Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor. It’s the ninth Perry film to debut over $20 million; the only other directors to have reached that distinction are Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis.
Despite its Twilight connections, no one had overly high hopes for the alien invasion romance The Host, based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer. Neither the novel nor the three leads — Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons, and Jake Abel — were nearly as squeal inducing to the largely female audiences that made Twilight popular. Weighed down by laughably bad reviews and unappealing trailers, The Host disappointed with $11 million in sixth place.
1. G.I. Joe: Retaliation – $41.2 million
2. The Croods – $26.5 million
3. Tyler Perry’s Temptation – $22.3 million
4. Olympus Has Fallen – $14 million
5. Oz the Great and Powerful – $11.6 million
6. The Host – $11 million
In the limited market, the Derek Cianfrance-directed The Place Behind the Pines, starring Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes, and Bradley Cooper, grossed $270,184 in only four theaters. The per-theater average of $67,546 is the second-largest of the year behind the buzzy Spring Breakers.