Popcorn Index: Huge Week for "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" and "Fast and the Furious 6"

G.I. Joe: Retaliation

With its release coming next month, looks like Paramount Pictures is putting its marketing into high gear for John Chu’s “G.I. Joe: Retaliation.” Last week, the actioner that teams up Dwayne Johnson, Channing Tatum, and Bruce Willis collected 840,832 Likes on Facebook, by far the most for any film in our database in one week. In total, the film has 1.1 million Facebook Likes.

“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” opens on March 29, after being pulled last summer because of poor results from test screenings. Apparently, they want to give newly minted A-lister Channing Tatum some more screen time. The first film “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” grossed $150M domestically and $302M worldwide. Those figures would have been considered great if the film didn’t cost a whopping $175M to make.

Paramount decided to go ahead with a sequel anyway by slicing the budget to $130M and beefing up the film’s action credentials with action stars Johnson and Willis.

The good news for Paramount is that films with millions of Facebook Likes tend to open well. How well? I’m not sure. Will it be able to pull in a comparable figure to the first film’s $54M? I doubt it, but the trailer does look fun. And on HSX, it’s predicted to make $147M total. If it does that well, then Paramount will finally be able to make a decent profit this time, especially with the red hot Chinese market.

In second place last week is another sequel starring Johnson, “Fast and the Furious 6,” which added 163,696 Likes. In total, its Facebook page has collected 24.9 million Likes. That’s huge, partly because that page is collecting fans for all five of the previous films.

“Fast Five,” the previous entry, did surprisingly well, both commercially and critically. It grossed $210M domestically (by far the best of the franchise) and scored a solid 78% on Rotten Tomatoes (the first well-reviewed film from the franchise).

I’m not sure if “The Fast and the Furious 6” can live up to the newly raised expectations, but nearly 25 million Facebook fans can make a huge dent at the box office come this May.

Marvel superheroes occupy the next three positions: “Iron Man 3,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” and “Thor: The Dark World.” “Iron Man 3” added 100,915 Likes to its 13 million total. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” added 45,944 to its 6.4 million total. And “Thor: The Dark World” added 39,410 to its 5.6 million total. All great numbers.

The next five on the list are “Despicable Me 2” with 31,415 (6.5 million total), “Evil Dead” with 26,584 (344,209 total), The Little Mermaid 3D with 24,637 (1.4 million total), “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” with 22,773 (8.6 million total), and “Jack the Giant Slayer” with 21,579 (181,470 total).

If I’m Warner Bros., I would be plenty worried about Bryan Singer’s “Jack the Giant Slayer,” which has only accumulated a total of 181,470 Likes so far,and just a few weeks to go before it opens. The fantasy film looks expensive, but films in that range of Likes tend to bomb.

From looking at the daily charts this week, it doesn’t look like “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” will stay at the top for the long haul, but “Fast and the Furious 6” has been consistent.

For the full chart of the most Liked upcoming films on Facebook, click here.

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