Three years after their last box office bow, the Transformers are back. The fourth installment in Paramount’s giant robot franchise took in an estimated $41.6 million at Friday’s box office, including $8.75 million from Thursday pm previews. That puts the bots on track for about $98 million through Sunday: the same range that Transformers: Dark of the Moon landed on this weekend in 2011. Of course, Transformers 3 opened on a Wednesday, so by the time it locked in its $97.8 million debut weekend it had also collected $65 million from its first two days in theatres. Even without the head start, Transformers 4 should deliver this year’s biggest opening weekend – stripping Captain America: The Winter Soldier of the title it has held since April.
Hit the jump for details and Friday’s top five films.
Anything over $95 million will be good enough to secure 2014’s biggest debut, but there is still a chance that Age of Extinction will make it past $100 million by Sunday. It’s hard to believe that, at summer’s half-way mark, we are still waiting for a film to reach triple digits in its debut, but it’s true. And so it falls to Transformers 4 to shake the box office out of its recent slump – preferably before its laughably bad reviews catch up to it. Age of Extinction currently ranks an abysmal 18% on Rotten Tomatoes, though comparable reviews didn’t stop Revenge of the Fallen from earning over $400 million at the domestic box office in 2009.
Of course, the series has seen some changes since its domestic peak five summers ago. Even with the addition of Mark Wahlberg this time around, Transformers 4 is not guaranteed to reach $300 million in North America. That would be troubling for a film that reportedly cost $210 million before marketing, but luckily for Paramount, Age of Extinction is virtually guaranteed a gigantic overseas run. In 2011, Dark of the Moon brought in over $770 million from its international theatres, which accounted for 68% of that film’s global haul of $1.12 billion. With China expected to contribute $200 million to the global pot in 2014, the studio should have more than enough incentive to keep the Transformers series animated for years to come – Yay? Check back tomorrow for complete details on this weekend’s box office (including all non-Transformers titles).
|2.||22 Jump Street||$5,000,000||$129.4|
|3.||How to Train Your Dragon 2||$4,100,000||$112.8|
|4.||Think Like a Man Too||$3,400,000||$41.1|