Box office preview: Just how much money will 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' make on opening day?

Yup, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is going to have a huge opening day, but determining exactly how huge is no easy feat. The $195 million action threequel was initially going to be released this Friday. But Paramount chose to move it up to Wednesday, only then to decide to sneak preview it Tuesday night at 2,700 3-D theaters (including 146 IMAX screens). This makes things a bit trickier for your box-office prognosticator, as there’s not much precedent for movies opening at 9 p.m. on a Tuesday. And should Dark of the Moon‘s Tuesday evening gross count toward its Wednesday opening-day figure? For the purposes of this post, I think so.

First, some background. The obvious points of comparison for Dark of the Moon are the two prior Transformers movies. Luckily for us, the first Transformers movie also started its run with “sneak preview” showings the night before its official release. Transformers earned $8.8 million from its preview screenings on July 2, 2007 (a Monday). The following day, it brought in $27.9 million more, for a combined opening-day total of $36.7 million. The sequel, Revenge of the Fallen, didn’t offer any preview screenings. It opened on June 24, 2009 (a Wednesday) to a staggering $62 million (including $16.8 million from midnight shows).

Dark of the Moon will likely fall somewhere in between those two opening-day tallies. I don’t see it being able to match Revenge of the Fallen‘s $62 million, mostly because that movie, which won Worst Picture at the Razzie Awards, burned so many moviegoers. At IMDb, the original Transformers garnered a 7.2 rating from users, while Revenge of the Fallen mustered only a 5.9. But Dark of the Moon should easily surpass the first movie’s $36.7 million result. With the original Transformers, Paramount had the moderate challenge of convincing adults that it’s okay to see a movie based on a children’s toy line of alien robots. The franchise went on to gross $1.5 billion worldwide; in other words, mission accomplished. Audiences know exactly what they’ll be getting with Dark of the Moon, and never underestimate the allure of the familiar when it comes to predicting people’s moviegoing behavior.

The wild card here is 3-D. The first two Transformers were in 2-D, while Dark of the Moon was shot in 3-D and is being shown in that format at about 2,800 locations (starting on Wednesday). The last four 3-D releases — Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Kung Fu Panda 2, Green Lantern, and Cars 2 — all earned less than half of their openings from 3-D theaters. But Paramount and director Michael Bay have been heavily promoting Dark of the Moon‘s 3-D version. The studio took the initiative of sending 2,000 theaters an extra-bright 3-D “print” of the movie, while Bay wrote a letter to fans on his website imploring them to see the movie in three dimensions. If moviegoers overwhelmingly opt for the 3-D version, Dark of the Moon could wind up with around $55 million its first day. However, if audiences continue to show signs of 3-D fatigue, $45 million is also a possibility.

My prediction: $13 million Tuesday night and $37 million on Wednesday (including midnight shows), for a combined opening-day gross of $50 million. Check back here on Thursday to learn what we think Transformers: Dark of the Moon — as well as Larry Crowne and Monte Carlo — will make over the holiday weekend.

Read more:
‘Transformers 3′ opens in Russia, with love
Michael Bay and ‘Transformers’ 3 shine a light on theater projection
‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ trailer: Are they fixing the dents in this franchise?

Comments (47 total) Add your comment
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  • LOL

    America loves crap, so it will make a ton.

    • But you love to post crap

      …so who’s the winner here?

      • Lauren

        I get really annoyed how everytime I read a post on this website, there’s a person named LOL saying America loves crap.

    • Shashank

      Well I am not an american but u repeating the same thing again and again is very annoying so shut up

      • LOL

        Stop spending money on crap.

    • m

      yet lars von trier shows a girl cutting her cl@t off with a pair of scissors and it’s “art”. Spare me.

      • Shashank

        yaa a silly story line about a girl who tries to black swann and a disturbed mother overprotecting her and dying to give a good perfomance and being satisfied while dying is art I suppose

  • America Loves Crap

    I think you have underestimated America’s insatiable appetite for crap. Just look at how well Cars 2 did and that movie looked terrible.

    • Derrick

      wow, are you really this deep into trolling, do you just hate all movies because you are a failed actor ?

      by the words you use, i can tell you havent even seen the movies you talk down about.

      your life must suck a.s.s.

      • LOL

        Derrick is mad because Michael Bay stole his $10.

  • João Paulo – Brasil

    I think 15 millions on tuesday, 46 millions on Wednesday, total gross 61 like the second movie or make more because of 3D

  • Dominic

    Seeing as this has a 36% on Rotten Tomatoes so far, it looks more and more unlikely that I will see this. It’s sad to think that this might make more money than smart sci-fi films, such as Inception and Super 8. I honestly don’t understand why so many moviegoers are attracted to this mindlessness. There are many quality films out there, but people still settle for something that’s brain-dead.

    • Derrick

      why are you going by the critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes ????

      the critics always over analyse, the audience has given it a 90% and you decide to go by what the critics say ???

      i think you are just one of those people who love to hate.

    • Shashank

      because people dont have to think in movies like these and after a hectic day of work this is a great way to relax.For me the slick visuals are worth the money for the ticket and its ones choice okay so plz keep quiet

      • LOL

        I bet you don’t do much thinking in your life.

      • Diane

        I know I’m in the minority but movies that are badly written and badly acted annoy me-not make me relax.

  • Lynn

    I’ve seen numerous “meh” crowd reports from the screenings, and I don’t think 3D will really help it. I’m sure it will do well, but I think this is definitely the “At World’s End” to Transformers 2′s “Dead Man’s Chest.” I think it’ll significantly decrease on its predecessor, which, don’t forget, a LOT of people hated.
    The reviews aren’t exactly being kind, either.

  • Woot

    I hope people don’t see this… so Michael Bay can stop making movies, or realize that he should try something different. I may sound like a hater, but it is sort of aggravating seeing a horrible movie do well at the box office, while watching amazing ones failing.

    • Derrick

      you are an idiot, what you think is crap is not what everyone else thinks is crap

      • LOL

        You bathe in crap.

    • Diane

      I kind of hope people don’t see this movie because the people associated with it i.e., Bay, LaBeouf are coming across as the kind of jerks I don’t want to support

  • jon

    This movie will break all records. I cant wait to see this film. Transformers: More than meets the eyes….yes yes…i cant wait. I hope its all stupid and fun. Who cares what you all think. This is not a serious film, its a fun movie about talking robots….i mean it cant be any more serious than this LOL

  • Corey

    Regal Theaters in my area has it on several screens and one is already sold out, a second is nearing sell out, and it’s still 35 minutes to go before showtime.

  • David

    Never underestimate the complete stupidity of the American movie going public. The dumber and more poorly made the film is the more it seems to make…

    • dee

      Never underestimate the stupidity of Americans full stop.

  • gy

    I predict it will do huge, maybe even a record opening day. I predict maybe 75 million.

  • Cris

    Aim high … no one (especially Michael Bay) ever went broke underestimating the stupidity of the American public …

  • George

    there was a sneak preview in India

  • no u didnt

    All you people saying Americans love crap,I would love to know what films you like, since you read articles about movies all your intentions seem towards them are hostile and talk about a country. I dont know about you, but POTC4 is making a ton of money and it isnt coming from America/Canada market, that movie will break a billion and you idiots will still blame it on america, go die somewhere you peices of….

    • LOL

      Why are you posting crap?

      • Derrick

        why are you trolling ?

      • LOL

        Why are you wallowing in crap?

  • scottm

    I think this movie is going to be huge. Usually if the last movie in a franchise was bad, the next film suffers but I think the fact that its star has been vocal about the second ones short comings and the trailers will appeal to the fans this movie will seriously buck this trend. I personally hate these movies though.

  • jason

    I enjoyed this movie a lot. A million times better than the second and about the same if not better than first. Michael Bay just should of shortened it by 20-25 minutes..Thats my only problem.

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