Despite expectations of disaster and controversy over a lack of mainstream reviews, GI Joe: The Rise Of Cobra looks like it's going to be a hit after all, opening with a surprising $22.3 million box office take on Friday.
The new movie is expected to make above $50 million between Friday and Sunday, according to analysts, which would make it more successful than Terminator Salvation and within Watchmen's $55.7 million opening weekend (Joe actually grossed more than Watchmen on the Friday, but Watchmen's Thursday night screenings took it to $25.1 million total for the day officially). This may be the sign that movie executives were looking for, in terms of proof that name recognition and a more general rating - Joe is a PG-13, against Terminator and Watchmen's R ratings - is more important than either positive buzz or the quality of the finished movie.
With mainstream reviews coming in and not being very good (although Roger Ebert's is a masterpiece of snark), it'll be interesting to see if that impacts attendance throughout the weekend. If it doesn't, and Joe ends up making somewhere around the rumored $55 million, expect to see more toy movies being rushed into production... and past the movie critics.