G.I. Joe…no I won’t go!!

“G.I. Joe” set to storm weekend box office
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) ñ Get ready for a slew of military metaphors in box office reports this weekend.
“G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” the first pure action release in several weeks, will open at No. 1, unencumbered by a single mainstream review.
In an unusual gambit generally reserved for obvious stinkers, Paramount decided that critics likely would bash the film and perhaps dent moviegoers’ must-see interest. Yet prerelease tracking is strong, and “Joe” seems headed for an opening of $45 million-$50 million.
Its core support will come from male youngsters, although its unclear if the coveted demo will be able to help Hollywood end four weeks of year-over-year box office declines.
“‘G.I. Joe’ is tracking well, so maybe it will get people interested in going back to the movies. But right now, the interest is pretty low,” said an industry observer.
Two other films are opening in theaters on Friday. Sony’s Nora Ephron-directed “Julie & Julia” — about famed TV chef Julia Child (Meryl Streep) and a woman (Amy Adams) who blogs about preparing her recipes — is also tracking well with a narrow swath of prospective patrons; older females should make a $20 million debut reachable.
But the weekend’s third wide opener is tracking much more softly. The R-rated horror thriller “A Perfect Getaway,” which Universal will distribute on behalf of indie producer Relativity’s Rogue Pictures unit, might get away with $5 million-$7 million through Sunday.
The most-scrutinized holdover performance will be Universal’s “Funny People,” which opened at No. 1 last weekend with a sub-par $22.6 million. A (modest) 50% drop would see “People” potentially nab the weekend’s bronze medal.
Meanwhile, the industry’s year-to-date box office performance has taken a battering from the recent weekend downticks — the result of comparisons with year-ago frames stuffed fat with “Dark Knight” sales.
Just three weeks ago, 2009 was pacing ahead of the same portion of last year by a healthy 6%, putting admissions (the number of tickets sold) on course for an annual uptick as box office sales exceeded the roughly 4% increase in average ticket prices. After the latest year-over-year decline — which saw the last session off a hefty 25% from the year-earlier tally — domestic box office now is up only 4% at $6.13 billion, according to Nielsen EDI.