Back when G.I. Joe: Retaliation was yanked from the schedule last year, just over a month before its June debut, and shifted to the less competitive date of late March 2013, it looked like an expensive disaster. And why wouldn’t it be? Though it banked $150 million domestically and double that worldwide, G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra was a highly shitty affair, as juvenile an exercise in plastic-toy militarism as the Transformers movies, but without that…er… distinctive Michael Bay touch. Nobody seemed to like the first one and the studio didn’t seem confident about the second one, either, so it went back to the lab for 3D conversion/price-gouging purposes. Turns out that Paramount had the right idea: Against weak, niche-y competition, G.I. Joe: Retaliation extracted $41.2 million from Americans who had apparently waited for four years to see what Jonathan Pryce’s shape-shifted President would do next. Judging by another round of brutal reviews, a second sequel that everyone denies wanting but secretly craves will be in the works soon.
In other wide release news, Tyler Perry continues to be the most bankable filmmaker alive. As prolific as he is, Perry has not yet saturated a market that will respond to his work whether he’s playing Medea or staying behind the camera for a weird, hysterical psychodrama like Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions Of A Marriage Counselor. Ray Subers of Box Office Mojo notes that the $22.3 million collected by Temptation marks the highest debut ever for “a non-Medea, non-sequel Tyler Perry movie,” and though it finished third behind The Croods’ $26 million, it opened on just over half as many screens. Meanwhile, the roundly panned body-snatcher movie The Host, based on the book by Twilight’s Stephenie Meyer, finished all the way back in sixth with $11 million in its first of not-many weeks.
In limited release, The Place Beyond The Pines, the ambitious reteaming of Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance and star Ryan Gosling, crushed all comers in per-screen-average with $67,500 on four screens. But the real test will be how well it rolls out once the outlay of mini-major promotional money runs out and it has to stand on its merits. Stoker fizzled out badly as it expanded, but the reviews and the first-week take are much stronger for this one. Also performing well was Room 237, the much-talked-about documentary about The Shining, which scored $18,000 per screen on two screens. The dual biopic Renoir used the classic arthouse formula (prestige + nudity = $$$) to earn a $10,617 per screen average on six screens while news was much harsher for Wrong, surrealist director Quentin Dupieux’s follow-up to Rubber. $18,000 on 16 screens is a rough piece of math: $1,125 per theater. Ouch.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.