Box office: ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ tops Thursday on its way to big debut weekend

Audiences are already saying “Yo Joe!” at the box office at the start of Easter weekend.

Jon M. Chu’s action sequel “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” took in an estimated $10.5 million on Thursday, one day before the opening of new films such as Tyler Perry’s “Temptation” and “The Host” (from “Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer).

“Retaliation” also pulled in $2.2 million from Wednesday midnight showings.

With returning star Channing Tatum and franchise newbies Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis, the sequel to 2009’s “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” will likely earn somewhere around $45 million in its North American debut. The studio is hoping it will crack the $100 million mark globally this weekend. 

“Cobra” debuted to $54.7 million and ended up with a solid $150 million domestic gross. The lower-budgeted “Retaliation” won’t earn as much in its opening frame, but could eventually top its predecessor’s total.

“Retaliation,” which was delayed for six months in order to be converted to 3D and beef up Tatum’s role, also stars D.J. Cotrona, Byung-hun Lee, Adrianne Palicki, Jonathan Pryce, Elodie Yung, Ray Park, and Ray Stevenson.