Weekend Box Office:

1) G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra $56.2 million

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2) Julie & Julia $20.1 million

3) G-Force $9.8 million

4) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince $8.8 million

5) Funny People $7.8 million

6) The Ugly Truth $7 million

7) A Perfect Getaway $5.7 million

8) Aliens in the Attic $4 million

9) Orphan $3.7 million

10) (500) Days of Summer $3.7 million

Despite low expectations and lofty speculations about its thematic quality, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra stormed the box office this weekend, racking up an impressive $56.2 million for first place. Word of mouth has been strong, with critics and bloggers claiming it to be a fun summer blast that defies all action film conceits. Though a huge drop off is expected in its second week of release, this Hasbro franchise has shown itself to be a worthy advisory in an otherwise weary summer. We are definitely looking at the next big trilogy here, and it won't be hard for Stephen Sommers to top this one in a sequel.

Hungry people countrywide rushed out to see Julie & Julia, making it the second highest grossing film of the weekend. This love letter to Julia Child ( as played by Meryl Streep) pulled in a respectable $20 million, and won the hearts of audience members and critics alike. This week's only other major release didn't fare quite as well. Universal's thriller A Perfect Getaway dropped in at number seven, earning a weak $5.7 million. Not too impressive. We probably won't see this one on the charts come next week.

A couple of art house flicks hit the circuit this weekend, but neither were any match for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra as far as the per screen average was concerned. Cold Souls, Sophie Barthes' new comedy starring Paul Giamatti, earned $63,300 for the second highest per screen average (just behind G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra), taking in an estimated $9,043 from each of its seven screens. Paper Heart, Charlyne Yi's look at love and life, earned $206,000 playing at a respectable 38 theater locations throughout the country.

Next weekend sees the debut of this year's sci-fi action masterpiece District 9. Will it be able to hold its own against The Time Traveler's Wife and The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard? My guess is that we have another huge blockbuster on our hands with Neill Blomkamp's first feature film.