Optimus Prime is back in full force.
Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction (A- Cinema Score) earned an estimated $100 million across the weekend, making it the top debut of the year. It’s also a career high for star Mark Wahlberg, who leads a new cast in telling the story of what happened five years after Chicago was nearly destroyed in the last film.
Paramount’s $200 million film may not have charmed the critics, but audiences didn’t seem to take that, or the daunting run time, into account this weekend. Moviegoers were predominately male, accounting for 64 percent of audiences. Also of note: IMAX screens made up $10.7 million of the weekend grosses.
But, the domestic business isn’t the only good news.
Internationally, Transformers is doing, well, Transformer-sized business, too. T4 earned a staggering $201.3 million from 37 territories, or 10,152 locations — a 35 percent uplift over Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Early estimates put its China earnings in the $90 million range, which is the best opening ever for a foreign film there. The 150 IMAX screens also made up a huge part of the weekend earnings accounting for a record-breaking $10 million. It’s also the biggest opening of all time in Hong Kong and Indonesia and the second biggest opening of all time in Russia.
Sony’s 22 Jump Street snagged the No. 2 spot and inched past the first movie’s domestic total ($138.4 million) this weekend with $15.4 million from 3,426 locations, down 44 percent from last.
Meanwhile, DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon 2 fell another 47 percent and brought in an estimated $13.1 million in weekend three. The $145 million animated pic now has a domestic total of $121.8 million. The first film had made $133.4 million by this point in 2010. It’ll be interesting to see what changes in preparation for the June 2016 release of the third film.
Sony and Screen Gems’ Think Like a Man Too plummeted 64 percent in weekend two with $10.4 million. Star Kevin Hart is still beating the social media drum, retweeting dozens of fans who mention the movie, but the energy at the theaters seems to have cooled off. The first film opened higher in 2012 and fell only 48 percent in its second weekend, going on to gross $91.5 million after 12 weeks in theaters. Hart’s About Last Night, heavily marketed as a Valentine’s Day pic, fell a steep 71 percent at the same point in the cycle and capped out with $48.6 million.
Rounding out the top five is Disney’s Maleficent, which crossed the $200 million mark domestically this weekend. The gothic fantasy took in an estimated $8.2 million from 3,073 locations in its fifth weekend in theaters, bringing its domestic cume to a staggering $201.9 million and its global take to $585.6 million (it’s playing in 54 territories and has yet to open in Japan). Not only is this a live-action career high for Angelina Jolie on all fronts, but Disney now has two of the top four 2014 global releases to date, including Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Cap 2 may have lost the title of the highest opener, but it just passed The Lego Movie to become the highest grossing domestic release of 2014.
1. Transformers: Age of Extinction—$100 million
2. 22 Jump Street—$15.4 million (domestic total: $139.8 million)
3. How to Train Your Dragon 2—$13.1 million (domestic total: $121.8 million)
4. Think Like a Man Too—$10.4 million (domestic total: $48.2 million)
5. Maleficent—$8.23 million (domestic total: $201.9 million)
In the speciality box office world, Begin Again, starring Keira Knightley as an aspiring musician in New York, took in an estimated $148K from five locations, while Snowpiercer, Bong Joon-ho’s sci-fi actioner starring Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton, made $162K from eight locations. “There’s no stopping this train. With some of the best reviews of the year and incredibly strong word-of-mouth, we’re looking forward to a robust holiday expansion,” said RADiUS-TWC Co-President Tom Quinn in a statement. Finally, Dinesh D’Souza’s America took in $39K from three locations. Distributor Lionsgate is rolling the pic out to roughly 1,000 theaters on Wednesday.
And in landmarks, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 crossed the $200 million mark this weekend, as well.
Next weekend is a genre grab bag: Sony and Screen Gems release the horror pic Deliver Us From Evil, Relativity debuts its E.T.-like Earth to Echo. Warner Bros.’ Melissa McCarthy comedy Tammy opens too. Plus, the Roger Ebert doc Life Itself hits theaters in limited release. Check back in on Thursday for the full preview.