Box Office: ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ Launches Michael Bay Fireworks

Just a quick question to stir up the imagination. What do you think 4th of July is like at Michael Bay’s house? You think his friends and family sit around in lawn chairs sipping Corona while Bay sets off a bottle rocket every four or five minutes, or do you think it’s a blockbuster show of spectacle. I like to think he takes it easy on the one day when the rest of the country is making their own ‘splosions fest. But that’s just me. After this weekend, actually after the week since last Wednesday, Bay will have a whole lot more firework money to toss around.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon has had quite a successful five-day run, the third highest opening weekend in July (behind The Dark Knight and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest), and takes the top spot of the biggest Independence Day opening weekends in history. It’s $97.4m unseats Spider-Man 2, which pulled in $88.1m in its opening weekend in 2004. Still, like Dark of the Moon, Spider-Man 2 had opened on a Wednesday, so the Wednesday and Thursday numbers had a hand in keeping the weekend pull from being even larger.

Also, despite all this money Dark of the Moon has made, it’s still falling behind Revenge of the Fallen. Not many critics are claiming Dark of the Moon is a good film by any stretch, but there is a pretty general agreement that it’s better than the second film of the franchise. The fact that Revenge of the Fallen is so generally hated could also have a strong hand in why Dark of the Moon isn’t doing better. But still, this isn’t to say it’s doing bad. $162.1m in its first five days is absolutely nothing to sneeze at. Or what’s the Transformers version of sneezing. Shooting washer fluid? Sure. $162.1m in the first five days is nothing to shoot washer fluid at.

As it stands, Dark of the Moon has already made a whopping $372.1m worldwide, nearly half of its reported $195m budget. It’ll be quickly making its way up those worldwide ranks, but its chances of matching Revenge of the Fallen‘s worldwide $836.3m are pretty slim.

Speaking of worldwide grosses, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides topped $1b in overall coinage. That little b there is for billion, as in a thousand millions. It becomes only the eighth film in history to do so and has already overtaken The Dark Knight to be #7 on the all time worldwide list. That’s right. Pirates of the Caribbean has made more money worldwide than The Dark Knight. $774m of that is from foreign markets. So thank YOU, everyone on the planet.

Here’s how the 3-day weekend broke down:

  1. Transformers: Dark of the Moon – $97.4m NEW $162.1m since Wednesday release
  2. Cars 2 – $25.2m (-62%) $116m total
  3. Bad Teacher – $14.1m (-55.4%) $59.5m total
  4. Larry Crowne – $13m NEW
  5. Monte Carlo – $7.6m NEW
  6. Super 8 – $7.5m (-37.6%) $108m total
  7. Green Lantern – $6.2m (-65.2%) $101.9m total
  8. Mr. Popper’s Penguins – $5.1m (-49.7%) $50.1m total
  9. Bridesmaids – $3.5m (-33.1%) $152.8m total
  10. Midnight in Paris – $3.4m (-17.6%) $33.6m total

All in all not a bad weekend, but not the $200m three days I was anticipating. The total numbers come in at $183m, up from last weekend and the second biggest weekend of the Summer 2011 so far. It still was unable to top the $213.5m weekend when The Hangover Part II hit, but this does raise an interesting comparison. What do these two weekends have in common? Ken Jeong. That’s right. Ken Jeong is the king of the Summer. He also provides a voice in Zookeeper, so watch out for that freight train of money suck coming up next weekend.

Also hitting next weekend is Horrible Bosses. Really, I don’t see either one of these beating out Transformers in its second weekend, but stranger things have happened. Hell, Kevin James is an A-list star. Grumble grumble grumble. Now enjoy your fireworks!

We’ll be back on Thursday night to see how the weekend is shaping up.

Jeremy's been writing about movies for a good, 15 years, starting with the film review column of his high school newspaper. He stands proud as the first person in his high school to have seen (and recommend) Pulp Fiction. Jeremy went on to get a B.A. in Cinema and Photography with a minor in journalism. His experience and knowledge of film is aided by the list of 6600 films he has seen in his life (so far). Jeremy's belief is that there are no bad films, just unrealized possibilities. Except Batman and Robin. That shit was awful.

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