Box office: ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ earns $2.2 million at midnight showings

The Joe team isn’t just defending human freedom against the ruthless terrorist organization Cobra, they’re also conquering the box office as well. 

Channing Tatum and franchise newcomers Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis helped “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” score a beefy $2.2 million in midnight ticket sales on Wednesday night. 

The sequel looks likely to pick up a four-day total somewhere in the range of $40 million to $45 million. Internationally, the sequel could debut to a handsome $100 million.

The opening numbers likely won’t touch the $54.7 million opening of 2009’s “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” but that film benefitted from opening during the busy summer months. However, Paramount is reportedly projecting that the sequel will outgross the original in the long run. 

“Retaliation” was originally scheduled to come out summer 2012, but was pushed back six months in order to be upgraded to 3D. The delay also allowed Paramount to add extra footage of rising star Tatum, who was originally killed off in the opening scenes.

“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” also stars D.J. Cotrona, Byung-hun Lee, Adrianne Palicki, Ray Park, Jonathan Pryce and Ray Stevenson.

At this weekend’s box office, it will face Tyler Perry’s “Temptation” and the teen sci-fier “The Host” from “Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer.