Michael Bay‘s Transformers: The Last Knight will indeed lead the box office this weekend with an estimated $69 million in total. Mind you, that’s over a five-day opening stretch, giving ample time for the franchise’s fanbase to see the movie at least once, if not two times. Just for some contrast, over a three-day opening, the previous Transformers film, Age of Extinction, made well over $100 million.
Of course, as I discussed yesterday, it’s likely that Bay’s latest take on robots in disguise will be saved, or given a few mattresses to land on at the very least, by the foreign box office, where it has been a far bigger hit than it is here. This is also true of The Mummy and the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie, both of which were endlessly savaged by critics and did not bring in domestic audiences in any remarkable way. That this may be the reason that I will have to endure the unyielding marketing campaign of for not one but several movies centered on a yellow Camaro-alien-robot who cannot speak is a sad state of affairs.
Then again, the rest of the field is not particularly enthralling. The Beguiled and The Big Sick, two very good movies, are doing admirable business in specialty this weekend but other than Patty Jenkins‘ Wonder Woman, there’s nothing in the top five that really inspires or even gives a fresh take on old material. The closest would be All Eyez on Me, the bewilderingly bad Tupac Shakur biopic, which will land in the fifth spot this weekend with $5.9 million behind the surprisingly tenacious 47 Meters Down with $7.4 million. For all that movie’s attempts to show a darker, more even-handed look at the rapper, however, it rarely captures the thrill of his art, the fractious yet vibrant community that supports the music and artists, or, most importantly, his tumultuous inner life, far away from the hallmarks of his Wikipedia page, which would seemingly be the film’s source material.
The movie’s success does make me excited to see more films about hip-hop or rap artists (or really any black artist) in the mainstream, but I don’t foresee studios learning any lessons here. Wonder Woman, which held steady in the second spot with $25.2 million, similarly should spur a boatload of female-fronted and female-directed movies from the big studios, but there’s no sign that this will stick beyond a few exciting exceptions already in pre-production. Meanwhile, the fifth and largely unwanted Transformers movie and the even more unnecessary third Cars movie, which came in with $25.2 million to come in third place after a bit of a dogfight with Wonder Woman, continue to make it easy to just say “re-up.” And with next weekend bringing Despicable Me 3, this doesn’t look to be stopping anytime soon.