Weekend Report: Audiences Re-Enlist With 'G.I. Joe' Over Easter
G.I. Joe: Retaliation was the big attraction over Easter weekend, though Tyler Perry's Temptation also demonstrated once again how solid Perry's niche is. Meanwhile, The Host's disappointing debut was the latest sign that the young-adult genre is fading.

The Top 12 earned $139.7 million, which is nearly identical to the same weekend last year.

The G.I. Joe sequel grossed $40.5 million this weekend, which ranks as the second-highest Easter debut ever behind 2010's Clash of the Titans ($61.2 million). Including Thursday, the movie has earned $51 million; that's a bit below G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra's $54.7 million three-day start in August 2009. For its three major stars, this is also a potent opening: it ranks third-highest for Channing Tatum, second-highest for Dwayne Johnson, and it's remarkably the top debut ever for a Bruce Willis movie.

The fact that G.I. Joe: Retaliation retained so much of its predecessor's opening in spite of that movie's awful reputation (5.7 rating on IMDb) is due to some great work at Paramount. Around five weeks ahead of its scheduled release last June, Paramount made the unexpected decision to bump the movie back nine months to this less-prestigious March date in order to post-convert to 3D and to add some more scenes with star Channing Tatum. At the time, they were endlessly mocked for this, though it turned out to be a great decision.

In the Summer, the movie could easily have been lost amidst high-profile comic book adaptations like The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises. Instead, Paramount was able to position Retaliation as "the first blockbuster of 2013," which increased its event movie status. Additionally, Paramount did a good job highlighting the appealing cast (The Rock, Channing Tatum and Bruce Willis) and raising the stakes with the destruction of London and the disavowing of the Joes. All of this added up to a successful debut for G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

After a handful of action movies bombed earlier this year, there was the fear that older men were to some extent bailing on multiplexes. That appears to have been discredited by Olympus Has Fallen and G.I. Joe: Retaliation—that audience hasn't ditched movies, they've just decided to wait for something that's actually interesting. Specifically, Retaliation's crowds were 68 percent male and 59 percent 25 years of age and older, and gave the movie a good "A-" CinemaScore. 3D showings accounted for 45 percent of grosses, and included within that is a nine percent IMAX share.

In second place, The Croods dipped 39 percent to $26.7 million. That's slightly steeper than How to Train Your Dragon's 34 percent decline at the same point, though it still suggests that word-of-mouth is good for this family animated movie. Through 10 days, The Croods has earned $88.9 million, and it's less than a week away from passing DreamWorks Animation's 2012 disappointment Rise of the Guardians ($103.3 million).

Tyler Perry's Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor exceeded expectations with $21.6 million from 2,047 locations (its per-theater average was nearly in line with G.I. Joe). While this is an overly specific statistic, it is still worth noting that this is the best start ever for a non-Madea, non-sequel Tyler Perry movie. It's also Perry's ninth movie ever to open over $20 million; the only two other directors who have that many $20 million debuts are Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis.

Temptation is the 13th Tyler Perry movie released by Lionsgate in the last seven years, and they now have it down to a science. Still, Perry's more dramatic material has struggled a bit lately, so Temptation's success was a bit of a surprise. It's likely that the Easter release date had something to do with this: this is the fourth Perry movie to open on this weekend, and all four have opened over $20 million.

As usual for a Perry outing, the audience was overwhelmingly female (70 percent) and older (79 percent were 25 years of age or older), and they gave the movie a good "A-" CinemaScore.

Even with good word-of-mouth, Olympus Has Fallen still took a beating from G.I. Joe: Retaliation; the White House invasion movie plummeted 54 percent to $14.1 million this weekend. To date, it's earned a very respectable $54.9 million, though unfortunately it now looks like it's going to fall well short of $100 million.

Oz The Great and Powerful rounded out the Top Five with $11.7 million, which is off 46 percent from last weekend. It's now grossed $198.4 million, and in the next day or two it will become the first 2013 movie to pass $200 million.

In sixth place, The Host opened to a meager $10.6 million from 3,202 locations. That's slightly less than what Beautiful Creatures grossed in its five-day holiday opening last month, and is a fraction of the first Twilight movie's $69.6 million start. While The Host didn't get much of a push in recent weeks, it did have a teaser trailer attached to The Hunger Games last March, which suggests that distributor Open Road Films did have very high hopes for it at one point.

Coming off the poor performances of Beautiful Creatures and The Host, studios are clearly going to start rethinking the young-adult romance genre a bit. The next big test for the genre is The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, which Sony is releasing in August.

The Host's audience was 78 percent female and 61 percent under the age of 25 (a bit younger than Twilight's typical crowd). They awarded the movie a poor "B-" CinemaScore, which suggests that it will have a very front-loaded run.

Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers fell 43 percent to an estimated $2.73 million this weekend. The movie has now earned $10.1 million, and looks like it's going to have a tough time earning too much more than $15 million by the end of its theatrical run.

Crime drama The Place Beyond the Pines opened to $279,457 at four locations in New York and Los Angeles this weekend. That translates to a very good $69,864 per-theater average for the Ryan Gosling/Bradley Cooper movie, and Focus Features is planning to expand it in to another 13 markets on April 5.

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This Weekend's Forecast:

Forecast: 'G.I. Joe' Sequel Set to Rock Easter Weekend

Easter Weekend in Past Years:

• 2012 - 'Hunger Games' Three-peats, Passes $300 Million Over Easter

• 2011 - 'Rio' Edges Out 'Madea' Over Easter

• 2010 - Kraken Gets Crackin' Over Easter

• 2009 - 'Hannah Montana' Rules Easter Roost

• 2008 - 'Horton' Hatches Easter Win

• 2007 - 'Grindhouse' Dilapidated Over Easter Weekend

• 2006 - 'Scary Movie 4' Cracks Easter Record

• 2005 - 'Guess Who' Dines at Top Spot

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