Box Office Report: “G.I. Joe” & Tyler Perry Close Out Strong March

Now that the last box office frame of the month has wrapped up, we can all sigh a breath of relief and say, “Thank goodness for March!” After an unusually high amount of flops in January and February, the box office surged this month thanks to family films Oz The Great and Powerful and The Croods, surprise hits Olympus Has Fallen and The Call, and now the better-than-expected openings for a handful of titles. In particular, it what a great weekend for films with a colon in the title, as G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor defied mild predictions with strong debuts, though the same can’t be said for Stephanie Meyer’s The Host. Nonetheless, add in a great hold for family hit The Croods, and you’ve got one successful end to March as the box office continued to over perform over Easter Weekend; click before for a full box office report:

Top 10 Movies (March 29-31)
1. G.I. Joe: Retaliation – $41.2 million
2. The Croods – $26.5 million
3. Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor – $22.3 million
4. Olympus Has Fallen – $14 million
5. Oz The Great and Powerful – $11.6 million
6. The Host – $11 million
7. The Call – $4.8 million
8. Admission – $3.3 million
9. Spring Breakers – $2.7 million
10. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone – $1.3 million

Opening atop the charts with $41.2 million, G.I. Joe: Retaliation scored the second highest Easter Weekend debut of all time (behind 2010’s Clash of the Titans’ $61.2 million). Since its opening day on Thursday, the film has amassed $51.7 million, and while that’s notably down from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra’s $54.7 million three-day-start in August 2009, that film had universally negative reviews and had many setting the bar much lower for sequel Retaliation. Cobra also benefited from an August summer release date. Regardless, opening in the same vicinity as the original film is a great sign for Retaliation and a huge relief for Paramount, who originally intended to release the film last June but delayed it five weeks before in order to convert it to 3D and add more scenes with the increasingly popular Channing Tatum. This risky schedule change seemingly paid off, as Retaliation settled into an “event” picture this weekend in March as opposed to getting drowned out by other summer blockbusters like Snow White, Prometheus, and The Amazing Spider-Man in June 2012.

Retaliation’s above average debut is also another a great sign for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who has become quite the box office draw in recent years. While February’s Snitch didn’t make much of a splash, Retaliation returned Johnson to his big action/macho-man comfort zone – an area where he charismatically blends his jacked physique with his comedic personality – and the results are clear: audiences love a good Dwayne Jackson event pic. Last year, many were calling Jeremy Renner a “franchise saver” thanks to his additions to the Avengers and Bourne franchises, but The Rock is truly the biggest “franchise saver” of them all, with Retaliation joining Journey 2 The Mysterious Island and Fast Five as another Rock-assisted blockbuster. All of this bodes extremely well for Johnson’s next big potential blockbuster, May’s The Fast and Furious 6, which is bound to be his biggest opener yet based off of Retaliation’s solid earnings this weekend.

As expected, The Croods held on extremely well in its second weekend, dipping a light 39% to find $26.5 million and lift its grand total to $88 million. By next week, The Croods will past DreamWorks last animated effort, Rise of the Guardians, with ease, and with no family film out until May’s Epic, The Croods will have a long and prosperous run at the box office through Spring. Same can be said for Oz, which lifted its total to right under $ 200 million in its fourth weekend, making it the highest grossing movie of the year so far. Olympus Has Fallen also held well with a 53% drop, a better-than-usual decline for a violence heavy, male-driven R-rated actioner. Between Olympus’ $54 million and counting and Retaliation’s solid opening, it appears male-targeted action films are back on track after 2 horrendous months. Clearly, audiences would rather see Gerard Butler and The Rock kick some ass rather than Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Makes sense to us!

In third place, Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor continued Tyler Perry’s masterful box office run, which has now seen over nine movies open over $20 million and puts him in the same box office league as heavyweights Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis. For years, Tyler Perry has created movies for and about the black community and the targeted demographic always responds to Perry’s trademark brand of comedy, drama, and faith. Temptation, a sensual drama about a women’s affair, is the farthest thing from Perry’s go-to Medea comedies, yet it over preformed with $22.3 million, making it one of Perry’s highest debuting dramas of all time.

But of course, it wouldn’t be 2013 without one letdown and this weekend’s major stinker was The Host, director Andrew Niccol’s adaptation of the popular Stephanie Meyer novel. Though Meyer reached blockbuster fame with The Twilight Saga, lighting couldn’t strike twice and The Host is another 2013 failed attempt at launching the next big YA-franchise (January’s Warm Bodies was a mediocre hit while February’s Beautiful Creatures was an absolute bomb). With its supernatural premise and good looking love triangle, The Host had all the elements that made Twilight such a phenomenon, but fans obviously aren’t looking for the next YA-saga, which doesn’t bode well for the slew of supernatural love stories set to make their way to the big screen over the next year. Luckily, the next effort, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, doesn’t hit theaters until August, so hopefully YA-fatigue cools down by then since this is only the beginning of many hopeful Twilight knockoffs to come.

Did any of you go to the movies this Easter Weekend? What did you see?

Article by Zack Sharf

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