It’s official. Transformers: Age of Extinction is 2014’s undisputed box office champion… at least in terms of its opening weekend. The sequel earned an estimated $100 million from 4,233 locations, making it the first film of the year to hit triple digits in its debut and replacing Captain America: The Winter Soldier as this year’s highest opener. As expected, Transformers 4 is also a big hit overseas, earning a reported total of $201 million worldwide in its first three days.
|2.||22 Jump Street||$15,400,000||$139.8|
|3.||How to Train Your Dragon 2||$13,100,000||$121.8|
|4.||Think Like A Man Too||$10,400,000||$48.1|
|7.||Edge of Tomorrow||$5,210,000||$84.1|
|8.||The Fault in Our Stars||$4,800,000||$109.5|
|9.||X-Men: Days of Future Past||$3,300,000||$223.3|
Full story after the jump.
For a minute there it looked like Transformers: Age of Extinction might not make it to $100 million this weekend. Though it easily topped Godzilla for the biggest single day of 2014 with an estimated $41.6 million on Friday, projections were between $95 and $105 million for the three-day frame. So far this summer we have seen three films narrowly miss besting the $95 launch of April’s Captain America 2: The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Godzilla, and X-Men: Days of Future Past. Truth be told, it would have been more interesting if Transformers 4 failed to deliver. That would mean that we had reached summer’s half-way mark with an opening record from April still in place – not to mention an overall highest-grossing title that dates back to February (The LEGO Movie).
But the bots had other plans. Since the first Transformers launched in 2007, the franchise has been a box office juggernaut: collecting over $1.1 billion with its first three releases in North America alone. Revenge of the Fallen was the most successful entry in the U.S., bringing in more than $400 million in the summer of 2009. More importantly, the series has improved its international performance with each new feature, reaching its peak with the $1.1 billion global haul of 2011’s Dark of the Moon.
Here’s a look at how the series has played out at the box office:
|2009||Revenge of the Fallen||$108.9||$402.1||$836.3|
|2011||Dark of the Moon||$97.8||$352.3||$1.12 billion|
|2014||Age of Extinction||$100||n/a||n/a|
As we mentioned yesterday, the weekend numbers for the first three Transformers films are a bit misleading. That’s because Age of Extinction is the first film in the series to launch on a Friday. In 2007, Transformers opened on July third (a Wednesday) and earned almost $85 million prior to its “debut” weekend. The last two features both premiered on the Wednesday before the July fourth holiday and collected $91.1 and $65 million, respectively, before heading into their first weekends. At this stage there’s really no way to tell how Transformers 4 will stack up against its predecessors at the domestic box office. Up to this point each film in the series has topped $300 million in North America, a number that no film this year has been able to reach.
Of course Paramount would love for Age of Extinction to reach Dark of the Moon’s domestic total, but their true focus has been outside the U.S all along. Clearly, this is a franchise that was designed with the burgeoning international market (read: China) in mind. Paramount reports that Age of Extinction has already brought in $90 million in China alone. That stands as the highest debut ever for an American title in that country, topping the $64.5 million of last year’s Iron Man 3. Other international highlights for Transformers 4 include $21 million-plus debuts in both Russia and South Korea.
Another recent release that was supposed to deliver big international grosses has been off to a slow start. How to Train Your Dragon 2 managed to hit number one the day before Transformers 4 hit, but was down by 47% on its third weekend. The sequel did manage to pass $200 million worldwide this weekend, though most of us expected it to pass that particular milestone in half the time. In other notable holdover news, Maleficent passed $200 million in domestic grosses on Sunday, as did The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – eight weeks after it got this summer season started.
One look at the top ten will tell you that this weekend’s box office was heavily weighted in favor of the Transformers. Even so, overall box office numbers were down from the same frame in 2013, when The Heat opened and Monsters University enjoyed its second weekend at number one. Age of Extinction did its part, more than doubling what Monsters U. earned last year, but the bots got little support from the rest of the top ten. Think Like A Man Too, last weekend’s number one film, was down a giant 64% in its sophomore frame; and 22 Jump Street, while still holding well in its third weekend, looks alarmingly slight next to the triple digit muscle of Transformers 4.
Next weekend should see Age of Extinction remain on top. It’s biggest competition will come from the Warner Bros. comedy Tammy, starring Melissa McCarthy. McCarthy had a hit with The Heat last summer, opening to just under $40 million on the weekend before Independence Day. Tammy is expected to collect between $25 and $30 million in its first weekend but, because July Fourth falls on a Friday this year, it will also get a head start by way of a Wednesday release. Check back for box office updates throughout the holiday frame.