Box Office Report: 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' Lights Up the Sky with Best July 4th Opening of All Time

9:49 AM PST 07/04/2011 by Pamela McClintock
Paramount

The tentpole all but crosses $400 million in its global debut; Tom Hanks-Julia Roberts starrer "Larry Crowne" stumbles

Paramount’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon set off fireworks in its worldwide assault, lighting up the box office with the best July 4th weekend performance of all time and earning $398.1 million in its global six-day debut.

In North America, Dark of the Moon—receiving an A CinemaScore--is set to gross $181.1 million through Monday. At first, Michael Bay’s threequel was trailing the last film in the franchise, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, but picked up the pace over the long holiday weekend to end up only 6% behind.

And Dark of the Moon’s Friday-Monday gross of $116.4 million makes it the best July 4th opening on record, eclipsing the $115.8 million earned by Spider-Man 2.

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Overseas, Dark of the Moon grossed $217 million through Sunday, Paramount’s best international launch ever, and 55% ahead of Revenge of the Fallen.

International Monday numbers weren’t immediately available, but once they come in, Dark of the Moon's total haul will come in around and $410 million (without them, the pic’s global cume is $398.1 million). Already, Dark of the Moon boasts the third best global launch of all time.

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Dark of the Moon scored the biggest opening of all time in seven countries, led by Korea at $28 million, and followed by Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Peru.

Paramount heavily marketed the 3D element of Bay’s tentpole, and the efforts paid off. In North America, Dark of the Moon earned 60% of its grosses from 3D theaters, bucking the recent downturn in 3D attendance. Overseas, where 3D continues to thrive in certain markets, 70% of the grosses came from 3D.

“It shows that you’ve got to motivate and inspire the audience,” said Paramount vice chair Rob Moore, who praised Bay.

Imax theaters playing Dark of the Moon ponied up well north of $22 million through Sunday, a record for the large format exhibitor.

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One secret weapon: For the first time in months, younger fanboys turned out in force, with 55% of those buying tickets for Dark of the Moon under the age of 25.  Males made up 62% of the audience overall.

The same glow didn’t extend to the Tom Hanks-Julia Roberts starrer Larry Crowne, which opened to a soft $15.7 million over the four-day holiday weekend. The comedy-drama, directed by Hanks, placed No. 4, behind Dark of the Moon and holdovers Cars 2 and Bad Teacher.

A full 71% of the audience for Larry Crowne was over the age of 50, and 93% over the age of 25. The film, directed by Hanks and receiving a B CinemaScore, is one of the oldest skewing films box office observers can remember.

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Universal is distributing Larry Crowne on behalf of Hanks’ Playtone and Vendome Pictures, which fully financed the $30 million drama-comedy.

Universal said the film’s performance was in line with the studio’s modest expectations, and that adults will continue to turn out to see the movie in the weeks to come.

The third new film debuting nationwide over the four-day holiday weekend was 20th Century Fox and New Regency’s tween girl pic Monte Carlo, which grossed an $8.8 million through Sunday.

The niche pic, toplining Selena Gomez, received an A- CinemaScore, with 61% of those buying tickets under the age of 25. Of the audience, 82% were females.
Placing No. 2 over the holiday weekend, Disney/Pixar’s Cars 2 grossed a pleasing $32.1 million through Monday for a domestic cume of $123 million.

Sony’s raunchy Cameron Diaz comedy held nicely, grossing $15.7 million through Sunday for a cume of $63.1 million in its second weekend.

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Warner Bros.’ Green Lantern fell to No. 7 in its third weekend, grossing $8 million over the long holiday weekend for a cume of $103.7 million.

Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris continued to deliver nicely for Sony Pictures Classics, coming in No. 10 and grossing $4.3 million for a cume of $34.5 million.

At the specialty box office, Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life grossed $1.4 million from 858 locations for a cume of $7.9 million. Fox Searchlight is distributing the film.
Focus Features’ Ewan McGregor-Christopher Plummer starrer Beginners, directed by Mike Mills, grossed $709,063 from 108 theaters for a cume of $2.5 million.

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