The box office for the 2013 Easter weekend was carried on the brawny shoulders of Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis and Channing Tatum.
"G.I. Joe: Retaliation" handily won the weekend with a three-day gross of $41.2 million and a total four-day take of $51.7 million, according to an estimate from distributor Paramount Pictures.
Also aiding the weekend's totals was the animated family-friendly film "The Croods," from Dreamworks Animation, which pulled in $26.5 million in its second weekend in release. Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox, the 3-D caveman flick dropped only 39%, for a two-week total of an estimated $88.6 million.
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Meanwhile, Tyler Perry continued his solid track record at the box office, grossing an estimated $22.3 million for his film "Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor," which centers on a love triangle gone wrong and features the stunt casting of Kim Kardashian. Yet the other new wide release of the frame, Open Road's "The Host," wasn't able to capitalize on "Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer's brand, with her first non-"Twilight" property disappointing with only an estimated $11 million in ticket sales.
Despite the impressive debut of "G.I. Joe," from director Jon Chu ("Step Up 3D"), total ticket sales were up less than 1% compared with last year at this time, which wasn't Easter weekend, according to Hollywood.com. Receipts are still down 12% for the year, and attendance is off 13%, according to the box-office tracker.
Paramount's gamble of delaying the release of "G.I. Joe" from last summer to allow extra time to convert it into 3-D appears to have paid off. Internationally, the movie has earned an additional $80.3 million, making it the biggest international opening of the year, according to Megan Colligan, Paramount's president of domestic marketing and distribution.
The $130-million actioner -- financed by Paramount, MGM and Skydance -- was well-liked by audiences, primarily young men, who assigned it an average grade of A-, according to market research firm CinemaScore. The movie is the second-highest Easter weekend grosser, behind 2010's "Clash of the Titans," which opened to $61 million despite being maligned by critics for its hasty 3-D conversion.
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Paramount delayed the release of "G.I. Joe" for the same reason but a combination of time and improved technology rendered the post-production 3-D conversion conversation obsolete.
Said Colligan of the conversion: “It’s a pain-staking process to do correctly but when it is, it’s a very satisfying experience. It’s also important if you conceive of things in 3-D going into it and Jon did. There are a lot of action set pieces that lent itself to be amplified in 3-D.”
"Temptation" marks Perry's 9th directorial effort to debut with a gross of more than $20 million and the second film of the multi-hyphenate to not feature his cross-dressing character Madea. Made for $20 million, "Temptation" received an A- from Cinemascore, from Perry's typical audience, women over 25.
"The Host" from writer/director Andrew Niccol ("Gattaca") didn't fare well with critics or audiences. Starring Saoirse Ronan as a girl battling with a foreign body inside of her, the film was lampooned by critics and earned a B- with audiences.