Weekend Box Office: ‘Transformers’ Destroys the Competition

The Fourth of the July weekend is arguably the biggest and most coveted opening slot of summer. There’s usually one unstoppable Goliath movie and a couple of little ones that don’t stand much of a chance no matter when they’re released. This weekend was no exception. While the Goliath is always going to win, the smaller films try to appeal to an opposing audience so that they may still have a draw.

As expected, ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon‘ opened with huge numbers despite three major factors working against it: hugely negative critical response (check out my hateful review), being the third movie in a franchise, and following the unlikably sub-par ‘Revenge of the Fallen‘.

Showing on more than 9,300 screens across America this weekend, ‘Dark of the Moon’ earned an estimated $97.4 million, bringing its five-day total to $156.6 million ($162.1 million if you include the Tuesday night sneak preview showings). Unlike the last four major 3D releases, ‘Dark of the Moon’ sold a higher percentage of tickets to 3D screenings. Only 40-something percent of the audiences who saw ‘Pirates 4’, ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’, ‘Green Lantern’ or ‘Cars’ on their opening weekends saw them in 3D, whereas ‘Dark of the Moon’ shot back up to the previous average of 60%.

The new Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts vehicle ‘Larry Crowne‘ opened below expectations in the #4 spot with only $13 million. Advertisements pitched the film for older audiences, hoping to appeal to people over 35 who simply didn’t want to see ‘Transformers’ or any other kids’ movies this weekend. In my review, I said that any demographic college-age or older looking for a fluffy feel-good movie would be pleasantly surprised by ‘Larry Crowne’. Too bad ‘Transformers’ won anyway.

The Selena Gomez ‘tween and teen girl flick ‘Monte Carlo‘ opened in the #5 spot with $7.6 million. That’s $200,000 below the opening of Gomez’s last big screen feature, ‘Ramona and Beezus‘. Considering that the 18-year-old Disney Channel star is now the girlfriend of teenage pop sensation Justin Bieber, you might have assumed that ‘Monte Carlo’ would nab a larger opening. Turns out, it doesn’t matter who you date if you keep making bad movies. Check out my review here.

Showing how much a bad film’s negative word-of-mouth can hurt a promising title, the Pixar-made family flick ‘Cars 2‘ suffered a 62% drop-off from its opening weekend. Crude Cameron Diaz comedy ‘Bad Teacher‘ also suffered a large decline, losing more than 55% of its opening weekend draw, but at least has tripled its budget.

J.J. Abrams’ monster movie ‘Super 8‘ crossed the $100 million mark this week, and eight-week-old ‘Bridesmaids‘ went on to set two records: highest-grossing Judd Apatow flick and highest-grossing R-rated female comedy of all time. This leaves ‘Sex and the City‘ in the dust. Although ‘Bridesmaids’ didn’t open with huge numbers, over the last eight weeks it has never fallen more than 33% in viewership.

Top 10:

1. ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ (Paramount/DreamWorks) – $97,400,000

2. ‘Cars 2’ (Buena Vista) – $25,112,000

3. ‘Bad Teacher’ (Sony) – $14,100,000

4. ‘Larry Crowne’ (Universal) – $13,007,000

5. ‘Monte Carlo’ (Fox) – $7,600,000

6. ‘Super 8’ (Paramount) – $7,500,000

7. ‘Green Lantern’ (Warner Bros.) – $6,270,000

8. ‘Mr. Popper’s Penguins’ (Fox) – $5,100,000

9. ‘Bridesmaids’ (Universal) – $3,521,000

10. ‘Midnight in Paris’ (Sony Pictures Classics) – $3,438,000


  1. Mrs. Z and I have a tradition of doing somewhat non-patriotic things during this holiday. One year, we went to Canada. This year, we saw Midnight in Paris. Excellent movie, certainly Woody Allen’s best in ages.

  2. Jane Morgan

    ‘Transformers 3’ grossed $418M worldwide. In foreign markets, it outperformed ‘Transformers 2’ by 51%, with 70% from 3D. Perhaps, to the primitive peoples of the world, it plays like an epic Art Film, with shock and awe.

    ‘Bad Teacher’ is up to $91M worldwide, making sexy profit off its $20M budget. And anytime an R-rated movie performs well in theaters, we should count that as a win for adult audiences everywhere.

    ‘The Tree Of Life,’ in its 6th week, has made $8M in America, and $9M in France. Come on, boys. We can’t let those frenchies win.

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