July 4 update: Transformers: Dark of the Moon collected an estimated $116.4 million in North America over the four-day July 4 weekend, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. Total after six days: $181.1 million. Directed by Michael Bay, Transformers 3 stars Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (replacing Megan Fox), and Josh Duhamel.
For comparison’s sake: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, the much-lambasted second installment in the Transformers franchise, grossed $214.93 million (about $225 million today) in its first six days in late June – without the assistance of either revenue-boosting 3D ticket prices or the 4th of July holiday.
Also, claims that Dark of the Moon is holding up better than Revenge of the Fallen give a warped view of the films’ respective box office figures: Revenge of the Fallen‘s Day 6, for instance, was a non-holiday Monday; hence its down 54 percent drop-off rate, compared to Dark of the Moon‘s estimated down 38 percent. In fact, factoring in inflation/3D surcharges, Revenge of the Fallen actually sold nearly as many tickets as Dark of the Moon on Day 6.
Yet, one must admit that even though Transformers 3 performed way below the $195 million that some pundits had been expecting last week, if studio estimates are accurate it did gross more than the $175 million others were predicting prior to this weekend’s surge.
Now, some are claiming that Transformers 3 – which earned 60 percent of its take at 3D locations – is proof that 3D is here to stay if the film is right. That could be, though one should remember that no less than 70 percent of theaters screening Transformers 3 are 3D-equipped. In that context, the 60 percent share looks considerably less impressive.
Also worth noting is that this year’s 4th of July weekend revenues were down an estimated 4.5 percent compared to last year.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon also features Patrick Dempsey, Tyrese Gibson, Oscar nominee John Malkovich, Oscar winner Frances McDormand, John Turturro, Alan Tudyk, and Ken Jeong, in addition to the voices of Hugo Weaving, Robert Foxworth, Peter Cullen, and Leonard Nimoy as Sentinel Prime.
In other box office news, the Tom Hanks-Julia Roberts vehicle Larry Crowne opened – at no. 4 – with a measly $15.7 million from 2,973 theaters over the four-day 4th of July weekend, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. The Tom Hanks-directed romantic comedy will have trouble matching its $30 million budget at the domestic box office – let alone recouping it.
Nia Vardalos, Hanks’ Larry Crowne co-writer, hasn’t been very lucky since her 2002 sleeper hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding: Connie and Carla cumed at $8 million in the U.S. and Canada in 2004; I Hate Valentine’s Day took in a minuscule $11,004 in 2009; and now comes the widely lambasted Larry Crowne.
Faring even worse, Monte Carlo, starring teen idol and reported Justin Bieber paramour Selena Gomez, drew in only $8.8 million from 2,743 sites in its first four days out. The romantic comedy cost a reported $20 million. Katie Cassidy, Leighton Meester, and Cory Monteith costar.
If studio estimates are correct, John Lasseter’s Cars 2 suffered a bigger second-weekend box office drop than previous Pixar/Disney features: Down 60 percent over the three-day weekend. After adding $32.1 up to July 4, Cars 2 has pulled in a total of $123 million domestically.
July 1 evening: According to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo, Michael Bay’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon took in $97.4 million this 4th of July three-day weekend – which actually went from Friday, July 1, to Sunday, July 3.
That figure places Transformers 3, which stars Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (replacing Megan Fox), and Josh Duhamel at the very top of all 4th of July weekends throughout all of film history. That is, if you decide to ignore inflation and 3D surcharges, not to mention the “location” of the 4th of July holiday itself.
Dark of the Moon‘s grosses may have surpassed the $88.1 million earned by Spider-Man 2 back in 2004, but the Sam Raimi-Tobey Maguire collaboration sold many more movie tickets: in 2011 dollars, Spider-Man 2 would have grossed about $111.5 million – without the revenue-boosting 3D surcharges. Approximately 60 percent of Dark of the Moon‘s box office take came from 3D houses; 3D premiums can go as high as 40 percent compared to ticket prices for 2D locations.
More comparisons: including previews, Dark of the Moon has grossed $162.1 million after five days. Without 3D surcharges, in 2009 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen collected $200.1 million (about $209.5 million today). In 2007, the original Transformers pulled in $133.3 million (about $148.5 million today), including previews. In other words, Dark of the Moon has sold way fewer tickets than Revenge of the Fallen, and is behind the original Transformers as well in number of tickets sold.
All this despite the fact that Dark of the Moon had the advantage of a 4th of July holiday falling on a Monday, which allows Sunday movie revenues to be unusually strong. None of the top-twelve movies on the North American box office chart had drop-off rates above 20 percent. In fact, all but one (Cars 2), were down less than 15 percent.
Back in 2004, for instance, July 4 fell on a Sunday; that meant fewer butts in fewer movie seats that day – Spider-Man 2 suffered as result; it was down 35 percent – as everybody was stuffing their faces at barbecue parties all over the United States. On Monday, a “July 5 holiday,” Spider-Man 2 was up 26 percent.
Also worth noting: Dark of the Moon has had the biggest opening weekend of 2011, having surpassed Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ $90.2 million. However, since 60 percent of Transformers 3‘s revenues came from 3D houses, versus Pirates of the Caribbean 4‘s 40 percent, that means the Johnny Depp-Penélope Cruz adventure is only slightly behind in actual number of tickets sold. In all fairness: even though On Stranger Tides didn’t have a Monday holiday to boost its Sunday revenues, it did open on a Friday; in other words, there was no pre-weekend box office steam lost.
Transformers 3 will definitely bring Paramount / DreamWorks some hard coin, but only by way of the international market and ancillary revenues. Dark of the Moon cost a reported $195 million, in addition to marketing/distribution expenses; remember, on average studios get only about 55 percent of their films’ domestic revenues.
Overseas, Dark of the Moon has grossed $210m, behind only On Stranger Tides among 2011 releases. The top two markets were South Korea ($28m; a local record) and Russia ($22m). As per Box Office Mojo, in addition to South Korea Transformers 3 broke opening-weekend records in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Peru and Panama. It’s unclear whether those are attendance records or box office records; if the latter, they haven’t been adjusted for inflation, exchange-rate fluctuations.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon also features Tyrese Gibson, John Malkovich, Patrick Dempsey, Frances McDormand, John Turturro, Alan Tudyk, and Ken Jeong, plus the voices of Hugo Weaving, Robert Foxworth, Peter Cullen, and veteran Leonard Nimoy as Sentinel Prime.
July 1 early afternoon: Filmmakers have oftentimes recycled scenes from other movies. For instance, Leo McCarey’s [not Sam Wood’s] 1952 anti-communist drama My Son John used bits from Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train made the year before. Robert Walker, one of the stars in both movies, had died before filming on My Son John had been completed.
Now, it sure looks like in Transformers: Dark of the Moon Michael Bay has used a scene – enhanced with new special effects – from Bay’s own The Island, a 2005 dud at the domestic box office. Check out the clip above and see what you think.
When is a major blockbuster a major box office disapointment?
Starring Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Josh Duhamel, Michael Bay’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, a.k.a. Transformers 3, opened with $37.7 million – including about $8 million from midnight screenings – at the North American box office on Wednesday. That’s the biggest opening-day of 2011 and the sixth biggest Wednesday ever (not adjusted for inflation). Sounds great, right? Well, think again.
Back in 2009, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, a.k.a. Transformers 2, raked in $62 million on opening day. In other words, despite 3D surcharges and (slightly) higher ticket prices, Dark of the Moon was down 40 percent compared to Revenge of the Fallen. Where was Megan Fox when you most needed her? [Addendum: Even adding the $5.5 million Dark of the Moon earned from (costlier) 3D preview screenings on Tuesday, it would still be down 31%.]
Additionally, according to Box Office Mojo, the first Transformers sold an estimated 4.05 million tickets on its first day out (a Tuesday) in 2007, which would place it a little ahead of Dark of the Moon. Based on those estimates, Revenge of the Fallen sold about twice as many tickets.
And finally, accounting for inflation (but not 3D surcharges) Dark of the Moon would be no. 11 on the biggest Wednesday box office list. Considering that about 60 percent of its take on Day 1 came from 3D houses, in actual number of tickets sold Dark of the Moon would go even further down that list.
Of Dark of the Moon‘s 4,011 North American locations, a record 2,789 – or nearly 70 percent – are 3D venues, including 146 3D/IMAX theaters.
Also worth noting is that six-day independent estimates for Transformers 3 have been going down, down, down since early this week. Some had been predicting a $195 million opening (up to July 4). After Tuesday preview screenings, that was revised downwards to $175 million. Barring a major weekend surge, we’re now looking at about $150 million. Paramount is (officially) expecting $155–$165 million. [Addendum: There was a major surge on Friday. More on that in an upcoming post.]
Following an estimated 43 percent drop on Thursday, Transformers 3 has to date collected $64.68 million in the US and Canada. Coming from the much higher $62 million box office take on Day 1, Transformers 2 was down 53 percent on its second day; the original Transformers was up 4 percent on Day 2, though that was a July 4 holiday.
Transformers 3 cost a reported $195 million (likely, it’s actual cost was considerably higher), in addition to millions more spent on marketing. Revenge of the Fallen cost a reported $200m; Transformers $150 million.
The biggest Wednesday ever (not accounting for inflation) belongs to David Slade’s The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner. Next in line are Revenge of the Fallen, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and Spider-Man 2.
June 29: Starring Shia LaBeouf (looking very macho above), Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (replacing Megan Fox, and looking like your average damsel-in-distress above), and Josh Duhamel, Michael Bay’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, a.k.a. Transformers 3, collected $13.5 million from late-night Tuesday screenings, according to estimates released by Paramount.
That amount includes $5.5 million from late-night sneak previews at 2,700 3D theaters and $8 million from midnight showings at both 3D and 2D houses.
For comparison’s sake: the original Transformers earned $8.8 million (about $9.8 million today), while Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen took in $16.6 million (about $17.4 million today) at preview screenings in 2007 and 2009, respectively. It bears noting that neither Transformers 1 nor Transformers 2 had the advantage of revenue-boosting 3D surcharges (up to 40 percent); in other words, Dark of the Moon sold considerably fewer tickets than Revenge of the Fallen – and may have sold about as many tickets as the original Transformers.
In any case, Transformers 3 is expected to have the year’s biggest opening to date, surpassing The Hangover Part II‘s five-day gross of $135 million. Bay’s action-adventure movie cost a reported $195 million.
June 24–26 weekend box office: Starring Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Jason Segel, and Lucy Punch, Jake Kasdan’s R-rated Bad Teacher landed on the no. 2 spot at the North American box office this weekend according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.
A Sony release, Bad Teacher grossed an estimated $31 million from 3,049 locations, averaging a solid $10,167 per theater. Critics, however, weren’t exactly impressed with the movie’s foul-mouthed shenanigans: Bad Teacher has a paltry 28 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes’ “top critics.”
Overseas, Bad Teacher collected $6.2 million in Germany and a total of $18.3 million in 24 markets. Bad Teacher cost a reported $19 million.
At the domestic box office, Bad Teacher boasted the third-highest opening for a Cameron Diaz vehicle*, trailing only the two Charlie’s Angels movies: Charlie’s Angels took in $40.1 million in 2000; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle drew $37.6 million in 2003. A year ago, Knight and Day, co-starring Tom Cruise, opened with a disappointing $20.1 million.
* Obviously, not including the animated Shrek movies or movies in which Diaz has what amounts to a secondary role, e.g., The Green Hornet.
Trailing Cars 2 and Bad Teacher, Martin Campbell-Ryan Reynolds’ Green Lantern collected $18.4 million at the North American box office. The adventure/sci-fier was down 65 percent compared to its opening weekend.
For comparison’s sake: James McAvoy-Michael Fassbender’s X-Men: First Class was down 56 percent on its second weekend out; Kenneth Branagh-Chris Hemsworth’s Thor was down 47 percent; and Robert Downey Jr’s poorly received Iron Man 2 was down 59 percent last year.
Green Lantern has collected $89.3 million domestically thus far, in addition to $29.4 million overseas.
Cars 2 movie box office: Internationalized sequel strong overseas
June 25: After getting the international treatment with races in the United Kingdom, Italy, and Japan – no small-town USA as in the 2006 Cars – Cars 2 opened remarkably well overseas. Directed by John Lasseter (with co-director Brad Lewis), Cars 2 collected $42.9 million at 18 markets. According to distributor Walt Disney – as reported at Box Office Mojo – that is more than twice what Cars earned on its opening weekend.
What is left unsaid is that: a) ticket prices are higher than five years ago b) Cars 2 has the revenue-boosting 3D surcharge c) the US dollar isn’t exactly at its strongest.
Unfortunately, studios opt not to report the actual number of tickets their movies have sold. Yet, I must admit that Cars 2 should easily surpass Cars’ $217.9 million earnings from abroad and it should sell many more tickets as well.
The poorly received (by US critics) 3D animated feature topped the charts in Mexico ($8.1 million), Brazil ($7.6 million), and Australia ($5.2 million). In Italy, where some of the action is set, it took in $5.7 million. [Addendum: Cars 2 pulled in a solid $66 million in North America on its debut weekend. That’s considerably more than most pundits were expecting last week, though less than the $68 million Disney had estimated on Sunday.]
Previous post: Despite generally negative reviews, Disney/Pixar’s Cars 2 far surpassed expectations, collecting $68 million at the North American box office this weekend (June 24-26) according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. The animated 3D movie’s average was a solid $16,525 per location.
Directed by John Lasseter (with co-director Brad Lewis), and featuring the voices of Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, Bonnie Hunt, and Emily Mortimer, among others, Cars 2 has a mediocre 44 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes‘ top critics. For comparison’s sake: Toy Story 3‘s approval rating among RT’s top critics is 100 percent; the original Cars got a 73 percent rating.
A couple more comparisons: Toy Story 3 opened with $110.3 million a year ago. The original Cars opened with $60.1 million in June 2006. That would represent approximately $72 million today – and without Cars 2‘s revenue-boosting 3D surcharges. About 40 percent of Cars 2‘s box office gross came from 3D houses. However modest a percentage, the 3D surcharge gives the sequel an advantage all the same.
In addition to its North American take, Cars 2 has collected $42.9 million overseas. Millions more will pour in as brats all over the world pester their parents, relatives, and neighbors for Cars 2 merchandise.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Cars 2 had a $200 million budget.
Previous post: Disney/Pixar’s Cars 2 will be the weekend’s biggest hit – and it’ll quite likely become one of the year’s biggest blockbusters as well. But let’s not forget another animated feature that, despite its relatively modest opening, passed the $150 million milestone at the domestic box office on Friday: Kung Fu Panda 2.
According to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo, the Paramount/DreamWorks China-set animated tale featuring the voices of Angelina Jolie and Jack Black collected $1.34 million at 2,527 theaters. Total after 30 days: $150.23 million.
It gets better. Much better. Kung Fu Panda 2‘s international take passed the $300 million milestone a couple of days ago. Its overseas total currently stands at $304.89m; top markets include China, Russia, Mexico, the United Kingdom, South Korea, and Brazil. Worldwide total: $455.12 million.
Chiefly thanks to the performance of Cars 2, North American box office revenues are supposed to be up 40 percent compared to last year, when Toy Story 3 earned $59 million on its second weekend out, Adam Sandler’s Grown Ups had a solid $40 million debut, and the Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz vehicle Knight and Day opened “modestly” with $20 million. In any case, this late June weekend will apparently be one of those rare “up” box office weekends so far this year. See, it’s all about offering audiences Good Movies and Original Stories.
Green Lantern movie box office: Ryan Reynolds superhero trailing Batman & Thor
June 17–19 weekend box office: Starring Ryan Reynolds in an ultra-tight green suit, and featuring Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Angela Bassett, and Tim Robbins, in addition to the voices of Michael Clarke Duncan and Geoffrey Rush, the Green Lantern movie adaptation directed by Martin Campbell (of the box office hit Casino Royale and the box office bomb Edge of Darkness) took in $52.7 million at the North American box office this weekend, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.
Considering that most pundits were expecting the Green Lantern DC Comics big-screen version to collect around $60–$65 million, the above figure – which includes $3.4 million earned at Thursday midnight screenings – is a major disappointment. A comics’ superhero glut, perhaps? If so, it’s up to Chris Evans’ Captain America: The First Avenger to use his red-white-and-blue shield to unglut things.
For comparison’s sake: X-Men: First Class earned $55.1 million a couple of weeks ago, while Thor grossed $65.7 million in early May. In 2008, The Incredible Hulk collected $55.4 million (approx. $61 million today) while Iron Man brought in $98.6 million (approx. $108 million today). In 2005, Fantastic Four drew in $56.1 million (approx. $69 million today) and Batman Begins $48.7 million (approx. $60 million today). In 2003, Daredevil earned $40.3 million (approx. $53 million today).
Green Lantern is clearly at the lower end of the box office spectrum here, especially when considering that 45 percent of its revenues originated from 3D houses, which charge a premium that may go as high as 40 percent compared to 2D venues. Of the aforementioned titles, only Thor had the advantage of the 3D boost, which represented approximately 60 percent of the film’s take on its debut weekend.
Green Lantern will find it all but impossible to recover its reported $200 million production budget at the North American box office. That’s where the international market may come to the rescue – though in this particular case, it remains to be seen whether that’ll happen. Green Lantern has grossed an estimated $17 million internationally.
Behind only Ryan Reynolds’ Green Lantern, J.J. Abrams’ Super 8 was the no. 2 movie at the North American box office this weekend (June 17-19), collecting $21.25 million (down 40 percent) according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.
Directed by Mark S. Waters, Jim Carrey’s Mr. Popper’s Penguins pulled in a mid-level $18.2 million at no. 3 on its opening weekend. That’s pretty much on a par with Carrey’s latest comedies.
For comparison’s sake: Carrey’s Yes Man, featuring Bradley Cooper and Zooey Deschanel, earned $18.26 million (approximately $20 million today) and went on to gross $97.7 million in 2008. Fun with Dick and Jane, with Tea Leoni, drew in $14.4 million (approximately $18 million today) and cumed at $110.9 million in 2005. On higher ground, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events pulled in $30.1 million (approximately $38 million today) and cumed at $118.6 million in late 2004/early 2005.
Mr. Popper’s Penguins cost a reported $55 million.
Super 8 movie box office: Overperforming domestically
June 10–12 weekend box office: If studio estimates are correct, J.J. Abrams’ Super 8, a Spielbergian horror flick co-produced by Steven Spielberg himself, performed better than expected at the North American box office this weekend, raking in $38 million – including $1.5 million from Thursday sneak/midnight screenings – at 3,379 locations, according to estimates found at Box Office Mojo.
Starring Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, and Noah Emmerich, Super 8 averaged a solid – though hardly outstanding – $10,950 per-theater. Three years ago, Cloverfield, a horror flick co-produced by Abrams and directed by Matt Reeves, opened (in January) with $40.1 million, averaging $11,744 per site. Cloverfield went on to gross $170 million worldwide. Also, in August 2009 Neill Blomkamp’s extremely well-received (and more adult-oriented) horror-sci-fier District 9 opened with $37.35 million, averaging $12,251 per location. District 9 went on to gross $210 million worldwide.
Even without taking inflation into account, Super 8 has taken off at a slower pace than either Cloverfield or District 9. Unless Abrams’ film gets strong word-of-mouth, it seems unlikely Super 8 will match the performances of either one of the two aforementioned films – even though it has more at stake.
Cloverfield and District 9 reportedly cost $25 million and $30 million, respectively; Paramount claims Super 8 cost $50 million – though many are skeptical about that seemingly much-too-modest figure. Internationally, Super 8 has taken in $6.7 million in a handful of territories. Worldwide total: $44.7 million.
Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Lucas Till, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Kevin Bacon, and Nicholas Hoult, X-Men: First Class scored $25 million in second place at North American box office this weekend (June 10-12), according to estimates found at Box Office Mojo.
Despite its relatively modest opening and the fact that the Matthew Vaughn-directed adventure-sci-fier held up well throughout the week, X-Men: First Class was down 55 percent from last weekend. For comparison’s sake: Down 69 percent, X-Men Origins: Wolverine took in $26 million on its second weekend two years ago, while the original X-Men was down 57 percent.
X-Men: First Class’ domestic total: $98.9 million. It’ll surely pass the $100 million milestone on Monday. Worldwide: $223.1 million. Cost: $160 million.
Cameron Diaz Bad Teacher image: Gemma LaMana | Columbia Pictures.
Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern image: Warner Bros. | DC Comics.
Kyle Chandler Super 8 image: François Duhamel | Paramount Pictures.
Josh Duhamel Transformers: Dark of the Moon image: Mark Fellman | Paramount Pictures.