Paramount’s gung-ho action romp G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra saved the summer with an estimated $56.2m debut that brought seasonal ticket sales back in line following the recent lag.

The adaptation based on Hasbro’s action figurines – which trade under the more prosaic Action Man moniker in the UK and other parts of the world – blew away the competition and helped summer box office return to within 1% of last year’s comparable revenues.

Stephen Sommers directs a boisterous international ensemble that includes Channing Tatum, Sienna Miller, Dennis Quaid, Byung-hun Lee, and Jonathan Pryce.

  • Sony served up a tasty counter-programming dish in the form of Julie & Julia, Nora Ephron’s drama that dovetails the lives of US culinary guru Julia Child and a young acolyte, who find inspiration in Child’s cookbook. Meryl Streep and Amy Adams headline.
  • Universal’s champion of last weekend Funny People took a serious nosedive, plummeting 65% and four places to $7.9m for $40.4m. Disney’s G-Force held well in third place and has amassed $86.1m after three weekends, while Warner Bros’ Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince fell two places to fourth on $8.9m for $273.8m after four.

The only other new release to break into the top 10 was Rogue/Relativity’s thriller A Perfect Getaway starring Milla Jovovich in seventh place on $5.8m. Fox Searchlight’s doughty Sundance pick-up 500 Days Of Summerentered the top 10 in its fourth weekend, adding $3.7m for $12.3m after expanding by 551 theatres to 817.

  • Warner Bros’ comedy smash The Hangover in 11th place has amassed $262m after ten weeks.
  • In limited release Samuel Goldwyn Films’ metaphysical conundrum Cold Souls took $63,350 from seven screens for a notable per-screen average of $9,050. Sophie Barthes directed and Paul Giamatti plays himself in the film, which premiered at Sundance.

Next weekend Screen Gems unleashes District 9, a fascinating sci-fi prospect produced by Peter Jackson that has whipped the geek community into a frenzy and is now gaining traction among mainstream critics. Other wide debuts come from Warner Bros/New Line’s romance The Time Traveler’s Wife with Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, Summit’s comedy Bandslam starring Lisa Kudrow, and moribund Paramount Vantage’s comedy The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard featuring Jeremy Piven.


Estimated Top 10 North America August 7-9, 2009
Film (Dist)/Est wkd gross/Est total to date

1 (-) G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra (Paramount) PPI $56.2m

2 (-) Julie & Julia (Sony) SPRI $20.1m –

3 (3) G-Force(Buena Vista) WDSMPI $9.8m $86.1m

4 (2) Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince(Warner Bros) WBPI $8.9m $273.8m

5 (1) Funny People(Universal) UPI $7.9m $40.4m

6 (4) The Ugly Truth(Sony) SPRI $7m $69.1m

7 (-) A Perfect Getaway (Rogue/Relativity) QED Int’l $5.8m

8 (5) Aliens In The Attic(Fox) Fox Int’l $4m $16.3m

9 (6) Orphan(Warner Bros) WBPI $3.7m $34.8m

10 (12) 500 Days Of Summer (Fox Searchlight) $3.7m $12.3m