Toy-based movie does well overseas; ‘Julie & Julia’ finishes distant second

LOS ANGELES (AP) — G.I. Joe is the latest toy to invade Hollywood and plant its blockbuster flag.

Inspired by the Hasbro action figure, Paramount’s "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" took command of the weekend box office with a $56.2 million debut domestically, according to studio estimates today. "G.I. Joe" also took in $44.3 million overseas for a worldwide total of $100.5 million.

Meryl Streep’s Julia Child tale "Julie & Julia" opened a solid No. 2 as an alternative for adult crowds with $20.1 million. While "G.I. Joe" was the first choice for young males, women 35 and older were the main audience for "Julie & Julia."

"G.I. Joe" follows Paramount’s "Transformers" franchise as the latest toy story to find success on the big screen.

Harsh reviews for "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" earlier this summer prompted Paramount to skip critic screenings for "G.I. Joe" and put the movie in theaters sight-unseen by most reviewers.

Critics generally trashed the "Transformers" sequel, yet it had a colossal opening and is on its way to joining the handful of movies to top $400 million domestically. Based on that disparity between critical and commercial reaction, the studio decided it could do without reviews for "G.I. Joe."

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