Forget fireworks! It was all about the explosions this Fourth of July weekend at the movies as Michael Bay’s mega blockbuster “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” obliterated all comers with a sensational record-breaking $97.4 million over the three-day weekend period. While the Autobots and the Decepticons were basking in the glow of the sun, the weekend’s other two releases – Tom Hanks’ “Larry Crowne” and Selena Gomez’s “Monte Carlo” – fell into the abyss as they found themselves opening in empty theaters on one of the busiest movie-going weekends of the year. A swift trip to the DVD bins is assured.
BOX OFFICE WINNERS: With $97.8 million over the three-day weekend period and more than $162 million amassed since opening day last Wednesday, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” was the clear winner of the weekend. Other winners in the top ten included “Bridesmaids” which crossed the $150 million mark (on a $30 something budget) and “Super 8” which crossed the $100 million mark.
BOX OFFICE LOSERS: The big losers of the weekend were “Cars 2” and “Green Lantern,” both which plummeted by 60+%. Neither look to become profitable enterprises for their studios. Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts were also on the losers list. The superstars’ latest collaboration, the comedy “Larry Crowne,” tanked on release, opening in a miserable 4th place.
BOX OFFICE ANALYSIS:
Though it had the disadvantage of being the sequel of one of the most widely derided blockbusters in cinema history, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” was still able to eclipse “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’” $97.8 million to notch up the year’s highest opening weekend. Additionally and perhaps, more importantly, Bay’s 3-D action epic swept away the seven-year-old Independence Day weekend record previously held by “Spider-Man 2” ($88.2 million). With more than $162 million grossed since its debut on Tuesday night, Bay’s trilogy-ender looks to give “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” a strong run for the title of the year’s top grossing picture.
However, even with higher 3-D prices and an gargantuan marketing campaign, “Dark of the Moon” was unable to topple the opening weekend of its predecessor “Revenge of the Fallen,” which opened this very weekend in 2009 to the tune of $108 million. In fact, when taking the higher prices and estimated attendance levels into consideration, even the original “Transformers” had a better debut. Perhaps those awful reviews for the second film did sour the moods of a lot of people. Nevertheless, with an excellent “A-” average from Cinemascore, “Dark of the Moon” should be the top dog at the box office for one more weekend until Harry Potter reveals his final spell. My Review.
After a strong debut last weekend, Pixar’s “Cars 2” collapsed to second place by a catastrophic 60.3% for a sophomore weekend total of $26.2 million. While second weekend drops are normal for a film that opens big, this is very rare for a family movie, especially one from the Pixar canon. “Cars 2” suffered the largest second weekend drop of any Pixar movie even though audiences polled by Cinemascore gave it an excellent “A” grade. This was more alarming because this was a holiday weekend. With the family friendly “Zookeeper,” “Winnie the Pooh” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” all set to hit cinemas in the next two weeks and only $117.2 million in the bank, I doubt “Cars 2” will be able to pull in a mileage worthy of its predecessor ($244 million) before it closes shop. My Review.
Also suffering a disturbing decline in its second weekend was R-rated comedy “Bad Teacher,” which dropped by 54% for a weekend total of $14.5 million. While word-of-mouth is as toxic as Cameron Diaz’ eponymous character, the film cost a relatively cheap $20 million to produce so with $59.9 million already in the bank, Sony Pictures should be happy with what they’ve achieved. My Review.
There was a time when the names Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts guaranteed a $20 million opening. But the tepid $13 million opening of the duo’s new film “Larry Crowne” make it clear that the times have changed. Even though Hanks wrote and directed the picture and made appearances on virtually every show on television, audiences were not interested as the poorly-reviewed comedy simply didn’t look interesting enough. And they were right to ignore the movie because it simply isn’t worth the time. My Review.
“Super 8” (My Review) had another excellent hold, dropping a slim 34% to round up the top five with $7.9 million, taking its total up to $108 million – which should make it another profitable film for studio Paramount.
The weekend’s final new release “Monte Carlo” starring teen star Selena Gomez opened the bottom half of the top five with $7.4 million while heavily hyped superhero bomb “Green Lantern” (My Review) followed it in seventh place, continuing to plummet by a miserable 63%. It’s tally stands at $102 million – which is less than one-third of its $325 million budget. “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” made the $50 million benchmark while “Bridesmaids” (My Review) broke past $150 million to become the highest grossing hit of producer Judd Apatow’s career.
NEXT WEEK: Two comedies – one family oriented, one adult-oriented – hit multiplexes. Kevin James aims to embarrass himself once again with “Zookeeper” while the star-studded comedy “Horrible Bosses” starring Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudikis, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell aim to provide adult audiences with the R-rated laughs. Neither will top “Transformers” which should once again be the weekend’s top dog.
Here’s the full box office top ten for the weekend (total domestic gross in parentheses):
- TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON – $97.8 Million ($162.6 Million)
- CARS 2 – $26.2 Million ($117.2 Million)
- BAD TEACHER – $14.5 Million ($59.9 Million)
- LARRY CROWNE – $13 Million
- SUPER 8 – $7.9 Million ($108.4 Million)
- MONTE CARLO – $7.4 Million
- GREEN LANTERN – $6.5 Million ($102.2 Million)
- MR. POPPER’S PENGUINS – $5.5 Million ($50.5 Million)
- BRIDESMAIDS – $3.6 Million ($153 Million)
- MIDNIGHT IN PARIS – $3.5 Million ($33.7 Million)
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