Weekend Box Office: 'Transformers 5' No Knight in Shining Armor
The fifth installment in Paramount's franchise is faring far better overseas, while 'The Big Sick' and 'The Beguiled' are bewitching audiences at the specialty box office.
Showing signs of rust, Paramount and director Michael Bay's Transformers: The Last Knight is doing tepid business at the North American box office.
The big-budget summer tentpole, which opened Wednesday, is headed for a five-day domestic debut of $64 million to $65 million, well behind any of the previous four installments in the toy-turned-film franchise.
That will include a Friday-Sunday take of roughly $40.5 million, a dismal showing considering box-office blockbuster Wonder Woman is projected to earn $26 million all the way into its fourth weekend. On Friday, Warner Bros. and helmer Patty Jenkins' superhero film became the top-grossing live-action directed by a woman with more than $615 million in worldwide ticket sales (Mamma Mia! was the previous record holder with $609.8 million). Wonder Woman also passed the $300 million mark domestically on Friday.
The Last Knight is wielding a far sharper sword overseas, where it has earned $85 million in its first several days, including an opening-day tally of $47.9 million in China, the third-best gross ever for a foreign film behind the last two Fast and Furious films.
Paramount and partner Hasbro put the movie's budget at $217 million. That doesn't include a major marketing spend. Heading into the weekend, prerelease tracking had suggested Transformers 5 would post a five-day domestic debut in the $70 million-$75 million range. Critics roasted the movie, while audiences gave it a B+ CinemaScore.
Mark Wahlberg returns to star in the latest pic — he made his franchise debut in Age of Extinction — with Laura Haddock and Anthony Hopkins joining the series as an Oxford professor and English lord, respectively. Together, the three characters must race to uncover the secret history of the Transformers before the world is destroyed. Josh Duhamel, who appeared in the first three Transformers movies but sat out Age of Extinction, also stars.
The Last Knight is the only new film opening nationwide this weekend.
There's good news at the specialty box office, where Michael Showalter's The Big Sick and Sofia Coppola's The Beguiled are bewitching audiences and scoring the top location averages of the year to date.
The Big Sick, a romantic comedy debuting in five theaters, is leading the charge with a projected location average of a mighty $82,800 for Amazon Studios/Lionsgate and producer Judd Apatow. From a script by Kumail Nanjiani and his now-wife, Emily Gordon, the film draws from their real-life courtship and revolves around a young Pakistani comedian (Nanjiani) and his American girlfriend (Zoe Kazan) who must contend with their cultural differences and two very different sets of parents.
The Beguiled, playing in four theaters, is heading toward an impressive weekend location average of an estimated $64,000. Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell and Kirsten Dunst star in this story of a Southern all-girls school that takes in a Union solider during the Civil War. The Focus Features movie premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival in May, earning Coppola the best director prize (she's only the second woman to ever win the honor).