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Box Office: ‘Transformers’ is Prime Once Again

The fireworks continued a week after the 4th of July, and Chicago was once again decimated in thousands of screens across America. Poor Chicago. I hope the IMAX screen on Navy Pier stayed intact. Oh, lord. And Giordano’s Pizza, too? I’m suddenly beginning to understand all the hatred towards the Decepticons.

But moving past that Windy City digression, Transformers: Dark of the Moon came out in the top slot for the second weekend, not a surprise considering the next big blockbuster of Summer 2011 doesn’t hit until next weekend. The bosses that are horrible and the keeper of the zoo were no match for the second wave of battling robots, massive Michael Bay explosions, and Ken Jeong. That’s right, we’re still counting him as a factor in all this. Dark of the Moon still sits at the bottom of the Transformers franchise totem pole. It has to best $319.2m in order to overtake 2007’s Transformers, $402.1m to beat out Revenge of the Fallen. The first of these seems likely. The second, not so much.

But Transformers 3 is making quite a name for itself as far as the record books go. It has tied with Spider-Man 2 and Avatar as the fastest film to hit $250m in domestic box office. It took Dark of the Moon 12 days to do so. Revenge of the Fallen did it in nine. Also with this weekend take, Dark of the Moon takes over the top spot for 2011 from The Hangover Part II. Sorry, Ken Jeong. Ken Jeong just beat you.

So despite not being as big a hit as the second, most hated entry in the series, Dark of the Moon could end up being a big enough hit that Paramount fast-tracks a fourth film with or without Bay and Shia the Beef. Will it be headlined by Jason Statham or someone much cooler? Trick question. There is no one cooler than Statham.

Elsewhere at the box office, Horrible Bosses hit about as expected, not quite at $30m but high $20ms. For Seth Gordon, it didn’t quite match the $31m Four Christmases debuted with in 2008, but to be fair people flock to Christmas movies in November like ants to a sugar stick. It does once again prove that the R-rated comedy is anything but dead or even hit its breaking point with audiences. You keep packing in lewd humor and F-bombs, and we’ll keep buying those tickets.

What might have hit his breaking point with audiences is Kevin James. Zookeeper wasn’t a huge misfire this weekend, but it didn’t drop quite as hard as you might have expected. While it isn’t the lowest opening weekend for a James vehicle – The Dilemma debuted earlier this year with $17.8m – it is surprising to see the combination of kids movie and the Paul Blart actor not making serious bank. I guess kids would just rather see a giant, robot boa constrictor toppling a skyscraper than talking animals. And who can blame them?

Here’s how the weekend broke down:

  1. Transformers: Dark of the Moon – $47m (-51.9%) $261m total
  2. Horrible Bosses – $28.1m NEW
  3. Zookeeper – $21m NEW
  4. Cars 2 – $15.2m (-42.1%) $148.8m total
  5. Bad Teacher – $9m (-38%) $78.7m total
  6. Larry Crowne – $6.2m (-52.2%) $26.5m total
  7. Super 8 – $4.8m (-39.1%) $118m total
  8. Monte Carlo – $3.8m (-49%) $16.1m total
  9. Green Lantern – $3.1m (-52.3%) $109.7m total
  10. Mr. Popper’s Penguins – $2.8m (-48.5%) $57.7m total

The weekend total came to $141m for the top 10, down from last weekend but that, too, was to be expected given the lack of blockbusters hitting. It’s anything but a slump for the Summer, and all of that is going to get swept away and forgotten about come this time next weekend.

Why? Well, a little movie called Winnie the Pooh is coming out next Friday. Although it might not bring in the $100m of something like Dark of the Moon, it’ll certainly make us all feel better about ourselves. Oh, yeah, and some weird movie called Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 releases, as well. How that didn’t go straight to DVD, I’ll never know, but we’ll see how it can do.

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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