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Box office report: 'G.I. Joe' wins Easter Weekend with a muscular $41.2M; 'The Host' can't generate 'Twilight' heat

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.

Box office update: 'G.I. Joe' takes a commanding lead on Friday with $15.5 million

Following a solid $10.5 million Thursday, Paramount’s long-delayed sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation stayed on top of the box office on Friday with $15.5 million.

The action film, which stars The Rock, Channing Tatum, and Bruce Willis, may take in about $38 million over the three-day period — if that seems like a low weekend multiplier, it is, but that’s due to families staying in for Easter and the NCAA tournament — which would give it about $49 million since its Wednesday night debut. For reference, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra started off with $54 million in its first three days in 2009. Paramount claims that Retaliation cost $130 million, but a recent L.A. Times story suggests the budget actually climbed to $185 million.

Last weekend’s victor, The Croods, slipped to second place with $10.7 million. The $135 million family film may take in about $28 million over the weekend, which would bring its total to $90 million after ten days.

Tyler Perry’s Temptation got off to a great start with $9.4 million on Friday. The $20 million Lionsgate film is headed to a strong $22 million weekend, higher than Perry’s last non-Madea film, Good Deeds, which opened with $15.6 million.

The Host began its run in fourth place with $5.5 million, which should yield a weekend in the $13 million range. Open Road says the film cost about $40 million. Olympus Has Fallen was close behind with $4.8 million, though it may surpass The Host by Sunday night.

1. G.I. Joe: Retaliation – $15.5 million
2. The Croods – $10.7 million
3. Temptation – $9.4 million
4. The Host – $5.5 million
5. Olympus Has Fallen – $4.8 million

Check back tomorrow for the full box office report.

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Box office preview: 'G.I. Joe' ready to duke it out with 'Temptation' and 'The Host'

It’s Easter weekend, which means that families are together, candy is getting unwrapped, and off-of-work Americans across the country are planning to hop on over to the movies. Family films tend to thrive on Easter weekend, thanks mostly to the Sunday holiday and the fact that extended family members visiting one another need something to do — other than argue. This year, Easter falls in the thick of March Madness, which may keep basketball fans on the bench couch, but a trio of high profile new releases will help counteract that distraction, and the box office should earn a respectable sum.

Here’s how the weekend rankings might shake out:

1. G.I. Joe: Retaliation – $35 million ($43 million four-day total)
Many were surprised when Paramount ordered a sequel to the 2009 under-performer G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. The action film, which starred a pre-A-list Channing Tatum, earned $150.2 million domestically ($302 million worldwide) against a $175 million budget. Certainly no great shakes. But Paramount, MGM, and Skydance Productions pressed on with a follow-up, shifting Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson into the lead role (Tatum was reportedly killed off in the original version of the film, which was mysteriously pushed back from summer 2012 to 2013 following Tatum’s breakout spring in The Vow and 21 Jump Street so paramount could “add 3D”) and tightening up the budget to $130 million. READ FULL STORY

'The Host': Cast and director Andrew Niccol say they're game for a sequel, chat about working with Stephenie Meyer

Sci-fi alien invasion flick The Host, based on the novel by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer, is still over a week away from its release date, but the talent behind the film are already saying they’d be up for making a sequel.

The Host, which centers on feisty Melanie Stryder, one of the few free humans left on Earth until she’s captured and inhabited by an alien parasite, had its world premiere in Los Angeles on Tuesday. At the event, writer-director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca) told EW that he’d be interested in making the big screen adaptation of Meyer’s in-the-works sequel to the 2008 novel. In fact, he seemed rather eager to get going on film No. 2: “Show me the book, Stephenie,” he joked. “You shouldn’t be here. You should be home writing.”

Luckily for dozens of fans who scored a spot along the premiere’s blue carpet, Meyer wasn’t at home writing. EW asked the best-seller author for an update on her follow-up to The Host, which she has said may end up becoming a trilogy. READ FULL STORY

'The Host': Go inside Stephenie Meyer's body-snatching romance -- EXCLUSIVE

Vampires and werewolves are so 2012. This year is all about aliens — specifically, the “Souls” of Stephenie Meyer’s The Host, a parasitic race that has nearly completed its invasion of Earth. There’s just one thing standing in their way: Human girl Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan of Atonement and Hanna), who won’t go down without a fight… even after her brain becomes home for one of the Souls.

Learn more about the world of The Host in this exclusive behind-the-scenes video, which features the Twilight author and the film’s stars explaining why their film is a must-see even for those who rolled their eyes at Edward and Bella. “It is a much deeper story than the Twilight novels,” says Meyer, who would know better than anyone.

READ FULL STORY

New trailer for 'The Host': Love conquers all, even aliens taking over your body

As the new trailer for The Host tells us, the battle for Earth is ending. Aliens with glowing blue eyes are invading in really, really shiny chrome vehicles, and they need our bodies as hosts.

Saoirse Ronan has proven, in fare like Hanna, that she can play a believable action hero. She’ll be joining the ranks of The Hunger Games‘ Katniss and Lena from Beautiful Creatures as an exceptional girl in love with a normal human – and Max Irons is just dreamy in his role. As for Diane Kruger, she just wants us to understand that Melanie is the key to finding the human resistance. See the action, the chrome and the romance in the trailer below:
READ FULL STORY

'The Host' trailer: Finally, that 'Twilight'/'Gattaca' mash-up you were asking for!

If you’re worried that the impending release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2 means that there won’t be any more movies about lovesick teenagers with superpowers and glowing eyes, then the trailer for The Host should be a breath of fresh air. On the other hand, if you don’t care about Twilight or melancholy teenagers with massive feelings, you may still be intrigued by The Host, which was adapted from Stephenie Meyer’s novel for the screen by Andrew Niccol, a legitimate sci-fi filmmaker best known for Gattaca and his screenplay for The Truman Show. Then again, maybe you should just get excited that we’re probably all finally going to learn how to pronounce “Saoirse Ronan” when this gets released in March. READ FULL STORY

South Korean box office record breaker 'The Thieves' heads to the U.S. -- EXCLUSIVE POSTER

South Korea has a population of 48 million people*, and clearly, many of them are movie lovers.

Fans have been packing Korean theaters to see The Thieves, an action heist by director Dong-hoo Choi, making it the highest-grossing film in South Korea’s history, beating out Bong Joon-ho’s 2006 monster fable The Host. The Thieves, which premiered in North America last month at the Toronto International Film Festival, hits American theaters on Oct. 12, distributed by Well Go USA Entertainment.

Check out this exclusive poster, below, featuring nine key players in the movie, including South Korean known names Gianna Jun and Jung-jae Lee, all wearing sleekly cool shades and cool-as-a-cucumber expressions. In classic crime caper style, The Thieves focuses on a crew of thieves vying for a sparkly, 318-carat diamond locked up inside a casino vault. According to the Korea Herald, the film has earned the equivalent of $84 million at the box office, with 13 million tickets sold.
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Stephenie Meyer stops by EW.com's Comic-Con suite to talk about 'The Host'

Twilight author Stephenie Meyer and director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca) visited EW.com’s Comic-Con video studio today to talk about the upcoming movie adaptation of her book The Host. READ FULL STORY

'The Host' first look: Jake Abel on playing Ian, working with Stephenie Meyer -- EXCLUSIVE

If you thought the romantic triangle at the center of The Twilight Saga was complicated, then you haven’t yet experienced the passions at the center of Stephenie Meyer’s other novel, The Host, also a feature film arriving in theaters on March 29, 2013.

Set on an Earth that has been overrun by body-snatching aliens called “souls,” the story follows Melanie (Saoirse Ronan), one of the last humans left on the planet, after her body has been inhabited by the well-traveled soul known as Wanderer (or Wanda, for short). Melanie’s strong-willed consciousness cajoles Wanda into the American desert to find Melanie’s uncle Jeb (William Hurt), her brother Jamie (Chandler Canterbury), and her boyfriend Jared (Max Irons). But once Wanda comes upon this ragtag band hiding out in a network of caves, she begins to develop feelings herself for another human, Ian O’Shea (Jake Abel, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning ThiefI Am Number FourThe Lovely Bones). So, to recap: Jared loves Melanie, whose body is controlled by Wanda, who is in love with Ian.

In this exclusive first look at Ian’s character in The Host, Abel talks about what he calls the “love box” between the four characters, his thoughts on Ian’s progressive attitude towards the souls, and what it was like working with Meyer and the film’s writer-director, Andrew Niccol (GatticaIn Time). Check it out below!  READ FULL STORY

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