In the US, the Fourth of July weekend is traditionally a giant money-maker for Hollywood movies. So, surprise! This year was a giant money maker for Hollywood movies. Make that “movie.” Three movies debuted, but only one – Michael Bay’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon – made an impact. A big, record-breaking impact.
|8||Mr. Popper’s Penguins||$5,100,000||$50.1|
|10||Midnight in Paris||$3,438,000||$33.6|
Despite trailing its predecessor in grosses and attendance over its first five days here in the US, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is already a huge international hit projected to take in more than $370 million by Monday. Here at home, the film broke the record for the three day Fourth of July frame and is expected, by Monday, to hold the four day record as well.
On Tuesday, TF3 opened at 9 pm for 3D and IMAX previews in 2,700 locations and took in $5.5 million. When its opening day started three hours later, the sequel earned another $8 million, or the second highest midnight total of 2011 behind The Hangover Part II’s $10.4 million. For all of Wednesday, TF3 posted $37.3 million. That equals the sixth-highest Wednesday opening ever and the best overall opening day of 2011: besting Pirates of the Caribbean 4’s $34.8 million Friday launch. But, let’s face it, those records are not particularly impressive. Here are the Transformers 3 records that count.
Since 2004, Spider-Man 2 has held the record for the biggest Fourth of July weekend (Friday-Sunday) with $88.2 million. Spidey also dominated the four-day holiday frame (including Monday) with $115.8 million. Even if its current three-day weekend estimate of $97.4 million turns out to be a bit inflated, there is no doubt that TF3 is the new Independence Day champ. Current projections of $116 million through Monday also give the film the four-day record, but we’ll wait to call that one.
Last year’s Independence Day frame gave us another franchise giant: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Eclipse had a huge opening day on the Wednesday before the Fourth, taking in $68.5 million for the biggest Wednesday of all-time. By the time the weekend rolled around, Eclipse held the record for the biggest five day (Wednesday-Sunday) Fourth of July launch with $157.5 million. Not including those Tuesday previews, TF3 has taken in an estimated $156.6 million over its first five days so, for now, the Twilight record stands.
The other BIG news from this holiday weekend is the fact that Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has broken the billion (with a B) mark in worldwide grosses. Despite the fact that the film fell out of the domestic top ten this weekend, a staggering 76% of its earnings have come from overseas – giving Pirates 4 a global total of 1.7 billion and seventh place on the list of all-time earners. Elsewhere, despite losing over 500 locations to Transformers 3 this weekend, Green Lantern has broken the $100 million mark (with an M) domestically.
The holiday’s two counter-programming titles saw much more modest returns. Universal’s romantic comedy Larry Crowne, starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, earned an estimated $13 million while Fox’s tween comedy Monte Carlo, with Selena Gomez, saw $7.6 million. With Transformers 3 carrying all the weight, the domestic box office will be down by about 8% over last year, when Eclipse and The Last Airbender helped make 2010 the all-time Independence Day Holiday leader. I’ll have an update on the four-day totals tomorrow.