We have reached the end of Paramount’s long, long seven-day launch of Transformers: Dark of the Moon. So, on this no-news day, let’s take a look at some of the more salient figures regarding Michael Bay’s third installment in his blockbusting franchise. Yesterday, Tf3 broke the all-time record for the Fourth of July weekend at $97.5 million. With Monday’s estimate of $18.9 million included, the record for the four-day holiday weekend has also fallen. The previous winner was 2004’s Spider-Man 2 with $115.8 million. The holiday take for Transformers 3 now stands at $116.4 million. So, that’s more.
Anyone who was around for the first week of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in 2009 knows that, here in the US, the grosses for the film’s follow-up have been much more muted. Tf2 launched on Wednesday, June 24th with $62 million and earned $109 million on its first three day weekend. In contrast, Transformers 3 took in $37.7 million on its Wednesday launch with a debut weekend charting at $97.4 million. The BIG difference that makes that discrepancy a little less troubling for Michael Bay and Associates has come from the new film’s international grosses.
Over its entire theatrical run, Fallen’s worldwide total of $836 million was fairly evenly split: 51% from the US and 49% from everywhere else. So far, Dark of the Moon has earned a worldwide total of $379 million in six days, making Tf3 Paramount Pictures International’s biggest launch to date. The magic of math also reveals that 58% of that world total came from the foreign market. International totals for Moon are already charting double what Fallen brought in, so expect to see US grosses fall even farther behind in the next week: especially if Tf3 mirrors its predecessor’s 61% domestic drop in its sophomore frame.
As if the financial legacy of Revenge of the Fallen wasn’t enough to deal with, Transformers 3 had the additional baggage of its predecessor’s quality (or lack thereof) to overcome. The film’s overwhelmingly negative reviews (20% of Rotten Tomatoes) were a far cry from the generally positive reception (57%) given to the first Transformers in 2007. So far Dark of the Moon is charting 38% – higher than Pixar’s Cars 2 – which Paramount hopes will make for more sturdy legs over the coming weeks. With no direct competition coming from new releases, it’s possible that Tf3 could keep its attendance loss at 55%.
The last issue to address is the 3D take of Transformers 3. You may recall that the percentage of grosses from films exhibiting in that format has been steadily declining all year. Because Dark of the Moon was shot in 3D (as opposed to last July’s The Last Airbender which was converted) many were eager to see how what kind of profit 3D would take from Tf3’s whole. From a record 2,768 3D locations (almost 70% of all venues), Dark of the Moon saw an estimated 60% of its domestic total come from that added dimension. That is far better than the 40% of Green Lantern and Pirates 4. But, if over half of audiences paid more to see the film in 3D, one would expect to see an overall six-day total closer to Revenge of the Fallen’s $215 million. Tf3 can probably catch up with international sales and a decent hold next weekend, but we’ll have to wait and see.
One final, non-Transformers bit of news: this weekend, Bridesmaids surpassed Knocked Up to become producer Judd Apatow’s most successful release ever with $152.8 million domestic. Next Friday the comedy Horrible Bosses will try to chart a similar course, but it will be up against Kevin James in Zookeeper and week two of Dark of the Moon. I’m gonna go with the Autobots.