"G.I. Joe" movie leads worldwide invasion

Sun Aug 9, 2009 2:14pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A new action movie based on the "G.I. Joe" line of toy soldiers crushed enemy forces at the worldwide box office during the weekend, ending the three-week reign of the sixth "Harry Potter" fantasy.

"G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" sold about $100.3 million worth of tickets, distributor Paramount Pictures said on Sunday.

The three-day take of $56.2 million from the United States and Canada ranks as the fourth-highest August opening ever, and comes after the $175 million effects extravaganza had been besieged by bad buzz for months.

The foreign component of $44.1 million -- from 35 markets comprising 75 percent of international sales -- was led by South Korea ($5.6 million). The film opened at No. 1 in two countries not exactly favorable to American militarism, China ($4.8 million) and Russia ($4.6 million).

"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" earned $31 million worldwide, taking its total to $816 million. The North American total of $274 million was bolstered by a fourth-place $8.9 million weekend. The film was released by Warner Bros. Pictures, a unit of Time Warner Inc.

Besides "G.I. Joe," other new entries in North America included Columbia Pictures' Meryl Streep culinary offering "Julie & Julia" at No. 2 with a tasty $20.1 million, and indie producer Relativity Media's horror-thriller "A Perfect Getaway" at No. 7 with just $5.8 million.

Last weekend's North American champion, the Adam Sandler comedy "Funny People," slid to No. 5 with $7.9 million, taking the 10-day total for the $75 million comedy to a disappointing $40.4 million. The film was released by Universal Pictures, a unit of General Electric Co.

"G.I. Joe" stars Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans as two young soldiers recruited by the international G.I. Joe military force to help save the world. It was directed by Stephen Sommers of "The Mummy" fame.

BAD BUZZ   Continued...

<p>Brian Goldner, Hasbro's CEO, (2nd L) joins producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura (L), actress Rachel Nichols and director Stephen Sommers in front of a "Mole Pod" from the movie "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra", at Hasbro's Charity Premiere of the movie in Warwick, Rhode Island, August 3, 2009. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine/Hasbro/Handout</p>