Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen blasted its way into the North American marketplace this weekend, taking an estimated $112m over three days and $201.2m since it opened on Wednesday (June 24).
The Paramount/DreamWorks sci-fi action sequel becomes the second biggest five-day domestic opener ever, falling just short of the $203.8m scored last summer by The Dark Knight. It beat the previous record - Spider-Man 2’s $152.4m - for a five-day opening starting on a Wednesday (The Dark Knight opened on a Friday).
It also becomes the biggest opener of the year so far, beating the $85.1m achieved by X-Men Origins: Wolverine in May. And it easily out-performed the original Transformers, which took $156.5m over its seven-day opening run in July 2007 (before going on to gross $319.2m domestically).
Playing at 4,234 locations (for a three-day per-location average of $26,453), Revenge - which reunites original director Michael Bay with stars Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox and a cast of giant robots based on the Hasbro toy line - had been tipped as one of the summer’s biggest performers.
It was panned by critics but started exceeding expectations on its first day, taking $60.6m on Wednesday, the biggest tally ever for an opening on that day of the week (and the second biggest opening day ever, after The Dark Knight’s $67.2m, earned on a Friday). It took an estimated $36.7m on Friday and $40.6m on Saturday.
The weekend’s only other new wide release was Warner’s My Sister’s Keeper, which managed a decent $12m from 2,606 theatres (for a per-theatre average of $4,616). Based on a best-selling book about a teenager and her family dealing with cancer, the New Line drama - with Cameron Diaz and Abigail Breslin leading the cast and Nick Cassavetes directing - got mixed reviews but performed slightly better than expected as counter-programming to Transformers.
Several other films on limited release also managed to find audiences not drawn to the battling robots.
Focus Features’ comedic drama Away We Go, with Sam Mendes directing John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph, expanded to 495 theatres and sneaked into the weekend’s box office top ten with an estimated $1.7m (per-theatre average $3,390), putting its gross to date at $4.1m.
Miramax’s period romance Cheri, with Michelle Pfeiffer starring for director Stephen Frears, opened in 76 theatres and took an estimated $408,000 (average $5,368).
And Summit’s Iraq-set action drama The Hurt Locker, from director Kathryn Bigelow, opened strongly in four theatres with an estimated $144,000 (average $36,000).
Wide releases opening this Wednesday for the July 4 holiday weekend are: Fox’s animated sequel Ice Age: Age of the Dinosaurs, directed by Carlos Saldanha with a voice cast including Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah and Simon Pegg; and Universal’s period crime drama Public Enemies, with Johnny Depp, Christian Bale and Marion Cotillard starring for director Michael Mann.
Estimated Top 10 North America June 26-28, 2009 Film (Dist)/Int’l dist/Est wkd gross/Est total to date:
1 (-) Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Paramount/DreamWorks) PPI $112m $201.2m
2 (1) The Proposal (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $18.5m $69m
3 (2) The Hangover (Warner Bros) WBPI $17.2m $183.2m
4 (3) Up (Buena Vista/Pixar) WDSMPI $13m $250.2m
5 (-) My Sister’s Keeper (Warner Bros) NLI $12m -
6 (4) Year One (Sony) SPRI $5.8m $32.3m
7 (5) The Taking Of Pelham 123 (Sony) SPRI $5.4m $53.4m
8 (7) Star Trek (Paramount) PPI $3.6m $246.2m
9 (6) Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian (Fox) Fox Int’l $3.5m $163.2m
10 (-) Away We Go (Focus) Focus Int’l $1.7m $4.1m