'G.I. Joe' wins the weekend

'Julie & Julia' bows at No. 2 at the boxoffice

"G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" stormed domestic theaters in weekend-winning style with an estimated $56.2 million in opening boxoffice.

Paramount opted to hide "Joe" from critics prior to release of the film, a Stephen Sommers-helmed special ops actioner inspired by Hasbro's action figure. So it will bear watching how weekend reviews and general word of mouth impact future tallies.

Sony's Meryl Streep-Amy Adams starrer "Julie & Julia" opened well in second place with $20.1 million. Universal debuted Rogue's horror thriller "A Perfect Getaway" with a soft $5.8 million in seventh place.

Disney's 3D family feature "G-Force" finished third in its third weekend with $9.8 million and an $86.1 million cume. Last weekend's top-grossing film - Uni's Adam Sandler starrer "Funny People" - fell a big 65% in its sophomore session to $7.9 million in fifth place, with a $40.4 million cume.

Fox's family fantasy "Aliens in the Attic" dropped a relatively modest 50% from its first frame to $4 million in eighth place and a $16.3 million cume. And Fox Searchlight's romantic comedy "(500) Days of Summer" hit wide release in its fourth session -- adding 551 theaters for a total 817 -- to register $3.7 million in ninth place, with a $12.3 million cume.

The top 10 finishers rung up a collective $127 million to notch a 17% uptick from the same frame last year, according to Nielsen EDI. That was the first year-over-year uptick in five frames.

In a limited bow this session, Samuel Goldwyn/IDP comedy "Cold Souls," starring Paul Giamatti, unspooled in seven theaters in New York and L.A. and grossed $63,350. That represented an encouraging $9,050 per venue ahead of an expansion into five additional markets Friday.

IFC Films debuted the Dominic Monaghan-toplined horror comedy "Sell the Dead" in a single New York location and dug up an acceptable $3,500.

Elsewhere in the specialty market, IFC expanded political laugher "In the Loop" by 24 playdates for a total 59 and grossed $241,015, or a sturdy $4,085 per engagement. Cume for the Peter Capaldi-James Gandolfini starrer reached $930,238.

Focus Features' Korean horror film "Thirst" added four theaters for a total of eight and grossed $51,829, or a pleasing $6,479 per venue, as cume reached $137,631.

And Sony Pictures Classics' French-language drama "Lorna's Silence" added three locations for a total nine in grossing $22,949, or a so-so $2,550 per site, with a cume of $75,772.

"Joe" was produced for a reported $175 million, with Spyglass Entertainment co-financing. The PG-13 pic features a young ensemble cast and attracted audiences comprised 60% of males, with patrons evenly split above and below age 25.

Hispanic moviegoers accounted for 25% of first-frame patrons.

"That tells you the film played particularly well in the Southwest and West," Par exec vp distribution Don Harris said.

A total $40 million in foreign coin gave "Joe" a $100.2 million worldwide bow.

Par on Saturday had projected $60 million in U.S. and Canadian boxoffice for the pic's first three days, after "Joe" rung up $22.3 million on Friday. But its Saturday tally turned out to be lower than expected and the three-day estimate was wound back on Sunday.

Also rated PG-13, "Julia" -- a Nora Ephron-helmed tale about TV chef Julia Childs (Streep) and a woman (Adams) who blogs about following Child's recipes -- skewed 67% female, with 64% of patrons aged 35 or older.

"It was a really sweet opening," Sony distribution president Rory Bruer enthused.

Bruer said "Julia" displays all the ingredients for a leggy run, considering its older base of support and largely positive critical reaction. Older moviegoers take longer to check out film releases, and positive word of mouth could broaden the pic's demos.

R-rated "Getaway" skewed 52% female, with just over half of its patrons over age 30.

"We are satisfied with the boxoffice," Rogue production president Tucker Tooley said.

Foreign presales covered the pic's estimated $14 million budget. So execs are confident of "Getaway" profitability, despite its modest opening.

Looking ahead, four pics open in wide release Friday. Those include Sony's sci-fi actioner "District 9"; Paramount Vantage comedy "The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard"; Summit Entertainment's high school laugher "Band Slam"; and Warner Bros.' literary adaptation "The Time Traveler's Wife."
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