‘Transformers’ Has $115.9 Million in Sales to Set Record

"Bumblebee" in "Transformers: Dark of the Moon." The plot of Michael Bay's third "Transformers" movie revolves around an alien spacecraft that crashed on the moon in the early 1960s. Source: Paramount Pictures via Bloomberg

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” collected $115.9 million in ticket sales in U.S. and Canadian theaters during the four-day July 4th weekend, the largest-ever opening for a movie during the U.S. holiday.

The romantic comedy “Larry Crowne,” starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, finished fourth in its debut, taking in $16.1 million, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement.

“Dark of the Moon,” the third film in the series from Paramount Pictures, was helped by 3-D tickets, which command higher prices. Three-dimensional screenings accounted for 60 percent of revenue for “Dark of the Moon,” Hollywood.com said. The latest “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Kung Fu Panda” movies sold a smaller proportion, raising concerns consumers were growing tired of the format.

“It marks a bounce back for 3-D,” said Gitesh Pandya, an editor at BoxOfficeGuru.com. “In the last few months we’ve seen 3-D get rejected.” Positive word of mouth for “Transformers” helped build sales through the weekend, according to Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com Box-Office.

The movie tallied $88.2 million over three days to squeak past the $115.8 million four-day July 4 weekend record set by “Spider-man 2” in 2004. It also set a record in the Imax Corp. widescreen format, generating $23.1 million worldwide, according to a company statement.


Walt Disney Co.’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.’s “Kung Fu Panda 2” both generated less than half of domestic sales from 3-D showings, Merriman Capital analyst Eric Wold said in a June 29 note. 3-D tickets cost about $3 extra per seat.

For the first night in theaters on June 28, Paramount Pictures decided to show “Transformers” only in 3-D to convince audiences the format was worth the extra price, Don Harris, executive vice president and general sales manager for the studio, said in an interview.

Viewers will pay the increased cost “if you make a movie that should be in 3-D and you do it well, which happened here,” Harris said.

“Dark of the Moon,” which opened officially on June 29, has generated $180.7 million in domestic sales, Hollywood.com said. The film was projected to earn about $180 million through July 4, according to Pandya. It cost $195 million to make, according to Box Office Mojo.

In “Dark of the Moon,” evil Decepticon robots renew their war against the benevolent Autobots and their human allies. Shia LaBeouf returns as Sam Witwicky, a young man befriended by the Autobots. English model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley replaced Megan Fox, co-star in the first two films, as Sam’s love interest.

‘Cars 2’

The first “Transformers” in 2007 and 2009’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” were shown in 2-D only. Combined, they took in $1.55 billion in worldwide ticket sales for Paramount, a unit of Viacom Inc., according to Box Office Mojo.

Among returning films, “Cars 2,” from Walt Disney’s Pixar, fell to second from first with sales of $31.6 million over four days.

In “Cars 2,” racer Lightning McQueen and tow truck Mater head overseas so that McQueen can compete in the World Grand Prix auto race. Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy (Daniel Lawrence Whitney) provide the voices of McQueen and Mater.

The film, a sequel to the 2006 hit, has taken in $122.6 million since its June 24 release.

“Bad Teacher,” the R-rated Sony Corp. comedy featuring Cameron Diaz as a foul-mouthed educator, dropped to third from second with sales of $17.3 million. Justin Timberlake, Jason Segel and Lucy Punch co-star.

‘Larry Crowne’

“Larry Crowne” is from Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures, and stars Hanks as a middle-aged man who goes to college after being laid off from his job at a giant retail outlet. Roberts plays the burned-out teacher with whom he forges an unlikely friendship.

Hanks and Roberts don’t have the same bankability they had in the 1990s, Pandya said. Bad reviews and a weak premise also hurt the movie.

“I’ve seen the film, and it is, in fact, boring,” he said.

“Super 8,” the Steven Spielberg-J.J. Abrams collaboration in its fourth weekend, came in fifth with $9.5 million over four days. It has generated $110.1 million to date.

The weekend’s other new film, the News Corp. comedy “Monte Carlo,” opened in sixth place with sales of $8.6 million in four days, Hollywood.com said. The story follows three young American women who find adventure on a trip to Europe. They are invited to a chic ball after one is mistaken for a British socialite. The film stars Selena Gomez and Leighton Meester.

Weekend Totals

Revenue for the top 12 films rose 6.2 percent for the three-day weekend to $191.8 million from a year earlier, Hollywood.com said. Over four days, sales slid 4.7 percent to $228.8 million.

Domestic box-office sales this year have declined 8.2 percent to $5.27 billion. Attendance is down 9.6 percent.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for July 1-4.

                       Rev.             Avg./   Pct.   Total
Movie                 (mln)  Theaters  Theater  Chg.   (mln) Wks
 1 TRANSFORMERS       $115.9   4,088  $23,937    --    180.7   1
 2 CARS 2               31.6   4,115    6,385   -60    122.6   2
 3 BAD TEACHER          17.3   3,049    4,758   -54     62.7   2
 4 LARRY CROWNE         16.1   2,973    4,405    --     16.1   1
 5 SUPER 8               9.5   3,088    2,565   -34    110.1   4
 6 MONTE CARLO           8.6   2,473    3,014    --      8.6   1
 7 GREEN LANTERN         7.9   3,280    1,999   -64    103.6   3
 8 MR. POPPER’S PENGUINS 6.7   2,861    1,936   -45     51.7   3
 9 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS     4.4     858    4,172   -14     34.6   7
10 BRIDESMAIDS           4.4   1,389    2,625   -31    153.7   8
11 X-MEN: FIRST CLASS    3.6   1,602    1,842   -56    139.3   5
12 THE HANGOVER PART II  2.8   1,568    1,525   -57    248.7   6

Top 12 Films Grosses*

   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
    $191.8        $180.5       +6.2

*Comparisons are for three days

Year-to-date Revenue
      2011          2010
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
     $5,273        $5,746      -8.2

Year-to-date Attendance:      -9.6%
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