"G.I. Joe: Retaliation" was delayed for nearly a year while Paramount reportedly beefed up Channing Tatum's role and outfitted the picture in 3D.
The long wait did little to stifle audience enthusiasm. The sequel to the toy-based tale kicked off the Easter weekend by grossing $10.5 million on Thursday. It's on track to bring in $45 million over the holiday.
That's an impressive haul, although it falls short of the $54.7 million take of the first film in the series, 2009's "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra." That picture went on to make $302.4 million worldwide, despite vituperative reviews.
Critics were not much more enamored with this installment, with "Retaliation" earning an anemic 30 percent "rotten" ranking on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences proved more gentle, giving the sequel an A- Cinemascore rating.
Though it officially opened on Thursday, Paramount decided to get things rolling early by debuting the film in a numbers of theaters starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
"G.I. Joe: Retaliation" cost $130 million to produce and will debut on 3,700 screens. More than 3,000 of them will be in 3D, allowing the studio to add a $3 to $4 surcharge on ticket prices.
In addition to Tatum, "Retaliation" spices up the military adventure with new additions to the franchise, Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson.
Paramount financed and produced the film with MGM and Skydance Productions in association with Hasbro, maker of the iconic toys upon which the film's characters are based. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Brian Goldner produced the film.