G.I. Joe: Blockbuster Defying Negative Reviews

August 9, 2009–Despite dismissive reviews, Paramount’s “G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra” became a $100 million phenom at the worldwide box office, grossing an estimated $56.2 million domestically and $44 million overseas.

“G.I. Joe,” based on the Hasbro toyline and subsequent comic book, has a cumulative figure of $100.2 in total, one of the top August openings of all time.

Starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, Sony’s “Julie & Julia” grossed a solid $20.1 million from 2,354 theaters in its debut at the domestic box-office, placing No. 2 for the weekend after “G.I. Joe.”

Rogue Pictures’ thriller “A Perfect Getaway”–distributed by Universal–failed in its thetarical bow, grossing only $5.8 million from 2,159 runs to come in No. 7.

Analysis

Despite largely negative reviews, Paramount’s high-tech, special effected driven “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” scored the highest opening for an August non-sequel with a remarkable $22.3 million off 4,007 engagements.

Most of August’s biggest openers in recent years, i.e. Universal’s “The Bourne Ultimatum,” New Line’s “Rush Hour 2” and Disney’s “Signs” have cleared the $20 million mark on their first day before posting a weekend take of at least $60 million.  By Sunday, “G.I. Joe” may become the third highest opening record in August behind “Bourne Ultimatum” ($69.3 million) and “Rush Hour 2” ($67.4 million).

In an effort to sidestep the bad reviews which its previous tentpole “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” received in June, Paramount decided against screening “G.I. Joes” to critics, rather chose to generate positive word of mouth by showing the picture to key fanboy journalists.

“G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” earned a Cinema Score of A from males under 25 and a B from males over, for an overall B+ score. The action picture based on both the comicbook series and the Hasbro action figure was co-produced by Spyglass Entertainment and producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura for a budget of of $175 million.

“G.I. Joe” was directed by Stephen Sommers who made his mark in tentpoles with the first two installments of Universal’s “The Mummy” franchise. “G.I. Joe” marks Sommers’ second highest opener after 2001’s “The Mummy Returns” which scored a $23.4 million first day and a $68.1 million weekend.

Sony’s Nora Ephron biopic “Julie and Julia” based on the chef Julia Child’s book “My Life in France” and Julie Powell’s cooking memoir and blog “Julie and Julia,” took second with $6.5 million off 2,354. The picture, produced by Scott Rudin and starring Meryl Streep as Childs and Amy Adams as Powell, cost only $38 million and was largely targeted at the over 25 women demographics. It’s the kind of film that may have long legs, as they say.