Weekend Box Office

Box Office Guru Wrapup: Transformers Scores Biggest Debut of the Year

22 Jump Street and How to Train Your Dragon 2 hold onto distant #2 and #3 spots.

by | June 29, 2014 | Comments

This weekend, the fourth round of Autobots destruction conquered the global box office as the Michael Bay sequel Transformers: Age of Extinction scored the largest opening of 2014 both domestically and worldwide. The PG-13 film which featured a new cast led by Mark Wahlberg scored a domestic opening weekend of an estimated $100M. If the estimate holds, it will be the first movie of the year to break the century mark in its first weekend following four tentpoles that debuted to over $90M each. Even if the estimate turns out to be too aggressive, Extinction still seems likely to have the year’s largest opening frame.

The new installment of loud mayhem averaged $23,624 from 4,233 locations including 3D and IMAX ticket prices. That is fourth best all-time among films opening in June. A robust $10.7M of the gross came from the 353 IMAX screens for an 11% share. 47% of the gross came from 3D screens including large-format ones; this is down from the 60% of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which opened to a stellar $180.7M across six days plus Tuesday night previews also starting at 9pm. The Friday-to-Sunday portion, which did not include the key opening day gross, was $97.9M. Factoring in different conditions, Extinction opened a bit weaker than Moon.

Reviews were mostly negative for the new Transformers and with teens today increasingly skipping multiplexes for their entertainment, it was tough to get much past $100M. Studio research showed that males made up a very high 64% of the crowd and 58% were 25 and over. The CinemaScore grade from paying moviegoers was a good A- so customers were generally satisfied with this as mindless summer escapism.

The overseas launch of the new Transformers was scorching hot, led by a mind-blowing record-shattering opening in China — where parts of the film were shot — thanks to a strategic partnership in what was by far the largest-grossing international market on the last film in the series. Early estimates put the China opening day at $30M Friday and the opening weekend at $90M (including $9.8M from IMAX) which is an all-time high for a foreign film there. It was also double what Dark of the Moon did when it debuted three years ago. Moon launched in China a month after the US release. This time, the world’s two biggest movie markets opened day and date.

Overall, the international debut soared to an incredible $201.3M from only 37 territories including most of the Pacific Rim. After China were Russia with $21.7M, where it was the second biggest opening of all-time, and Korea with $21.5M, which was tops for 2014. There is still plenty of upside as many key markets, not wanting to face the distraction of the World Cup, chose not to open this weekend. But with over $301M globally in under a week, Age of Extinction is well on its way to surpassing $1 billion in worldwide box office just like its predecessor. International growth may even lead to a new franchise high, prompting more Optimus Prime flicks.

Sony’s comedy sequel 22 Jump Street has been performing well with audiences and held second place with an estimated $15.4M in its third weekend. Off 44%, the R-rated hit has now surpassed 21 Jump Street with $139.8M domestic and counting. A final near the $190M mark may result. Worldwide take right now is $194M.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 once again did not show a great hold and has been eroding more like a sequel than like a quality toon with little direct competition. The third round saw an estimated $13.1M, down 47%, for a $121.8M total. After 17 full days of release, Dragon 2‘s cume is virtually identical to Kung Fu Panda 2‘s from 2011. That other DreamWorks Animation summer sequel ended its domestic run with $165.2M and the new Dragon should finish in the same ballpark.

The June sequel with the worst legs is Think Like A Man Too which collapsed 64% in its sophomore round to an estimated $10.4M. Sony has banked $48.2M and could be headed for about $75-80M. It was the only film in the top ten to fall by more than half.

Maleficent had a good weekend becoming the latest summer blockbuster (along with The Amazing Spider-Man 2) to cross the $200M domestic mark. The Angelina Jolie smash dipped only 36% to an estimated $8.2M raising the cume to $201.9M. Worldwide is now a remarkable $585.6M. It is now Jolie’s highest-grossing live-action film ever domestically, internationally, and globally. It should cross $600M by Saturday when it opens in its final market, Japan, where it hopes to unseat fellow Disney hit Frozen after its historic 16-week reign at number one. Edge of Tomorrow opens there next weekend too.

Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys dropped a moderate 43% in its second weekend to an estimated $7.6M giving Warner Bros. $27.3M to date. The big screen adaptation of the Broadway musical has not been a strong performer and could end with about $50M.

Tom Cruise’s sci-fi pic Edge of Tomorrow dropped 47% to an estimated $5.2M bumping the total up to $84.2M. With good holds, the Warner Bros. pic is set to surpass the $89.1M of his last film Oblivion which was also a futuristic actioner, and is on course to squeak past the $100M mark. Fox’s hit romance The Fault In Our Stars followed with an estimated $4.8M, off 44%, for a new cume of $109.5M.

X-Men: Days of Future Past, the summer’s highest-grossing hit so far, fell 46% to an estimated $3.3M and has banked $223.4M to date for Fox. Breaking $700M worldwide, the latest chapter has allowed the mutant franchise to cross the $3 billion threshold in combined box office across seven films.

Jon Favreau’s Chef continues to be this summer’s indie comedy sensation that audiences discover over time. Despite losing theaters in its eighth weekend, the Open Road release dipped a scant 3% to an estimated $1.7M for a new cume of $19.4M. Having never played in more than 1,300 theaters, Chef is on course to reach at least $25M and may even hit $30M.

Opening to good results in limited release was the critically acclaimed sci-fi thriller Snowpiercer starring Chris Evans with an estimated $162,000 from just eight locations for a $20,250 average from Radius. Parent company The Weinstein Co. also saw a nice start for the Keira Knightley-Mark Ruffalo music industry tale Begin Again with an estimated $148,000 from five sites for a $29,600 average.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $169.7M which was down 6% from last year when Monsters University stayed at number one with $45.6M; and off 11% from 2012 when Ted debuted on top with $54.4M.

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