'Transformers' tops $200 million

Narrowly misses 'Dark Knight's' five-day record

'Transformers' rocks overseas boxoffice
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen --  Film Review

Paramount's action sequel "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" capped its dramatic debut with a vengeance, ringing up $112 million in estimated weekend boxoffice for a competition-crunching domestic cume of $201.2 million since storming theaters Wednesday.

Matched against the first five days of all previous film releases, the "Transformers" tally falls below only that of last summer's "The Dark Knight," which debuted with $203.8 million during a Friday-to-Tuesday span. With another $181.6 million coming from overseas, the global gross for the second "Transformers" now stands at $363.2 million.

Produced by Paramount, DreamWorks and Hasbro, "Transformers" hauled in at least $25 million more through Sunday than most had anticipated. The session's other wide opener -- Warner Bros.' drama "My Sister's Keeper," starring Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin and Alex Baldwin -- bowed in fifth place on the lower end of forecasts with $12 million since unspooling Friday.

Disney's romantic comedy "The Proposal," starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, fell a modest 45% from its opening weekend for $18.5 million in second place and a 10-day cume of $69 million. Sony's Jack Black-Michael Cera comedy "Year One" tumbled a big 70% during its sophomore session, grossing $5.8 million in sixth place with a $32.3 million cume.

Collectively, the weekend's $193 million in boxoffice from its top-10 finishers represented a 9% uptick from the same frame a year ago, according to Nielsen EDI.

In a limited bow this session, Summit Entertainment unspooled the well-reviewed Iraq War drama "The Hurt Locker" in four theaters and grossed $144,000, or an impressive $36,000 per venue.

Miramax debuted Stephen Frears' period drama "Cheri" with 76 playdates and grossed $408,000, or a pleasing $5,364 per engagement.

Roadside Attractions introduced Iranian drama "The Stoning of Soraya M." in 27 locations and grossed $117,050, or a sturdy $4,335 per site.

And IFC Films' Italian drama "Quiet Chaos" fetched a neat $3,672 from a solo engagement in New York.

Elsewhere in the specialty market, Focus Features' Sam Mendes-helmed dramatic comedy "Away We Go" added 363 playdates for a total of 495 to gross $1.7 million. That represented an acceptable $3,390 per engagement as its cume went to $4.1 million.

Woody Allen's Larry David starrer "Whatever Works," from Sony Pictures Classics, added 26 locations for a total of 35 and grossed $386,269, or a solid $11,036 per site, as its cume reached $765,433.

And Francis Ford Coppola's drama "Tetro" from American Zoetrope added seven theaters for a total of 15 to gross $45,115, or an acceptable $3,007 per venue, with a cume of $182,751.

Unshaken by critics' harsh attacks, "Transformers" played broadly, though likely a bit young. Paramount's exit surveys for Michael Bay's Shia LaBeouf-Megan Fox starrer showed its audiences were 54% male, but stats regarding the age of patrons weren't immediately available.

Its grosses included $8.2 million in three-day coin from 169 Imax venues and $14.4 million from the Imax auditoriums over five days. The latter figure represents a five-day record for the specialty exhibitor.

"The movie was shot with our cameras," Imax Filmed Entertainment president Greg Foster said. "So people are getting a differentiated experience they can't get anywhere except in an Imax theater."

Paramount execs were jubilant about the scope of the "Transformers" bow.

"We're about as good as it gets this morning," executive vp distribution Don Harris said. "This is pretty spectacular."

Paramount already had said it plans to release a Bay-helmed "Transformers 3" on July 1, 2011. The original unspooled in July 2007 with $70.5 million en route to a $319 million domestic run.

So how leggy will the latest "Transformers" prove? It would seem to be well-positioned from a boxoffice-calendar standpoint as the film should be bolstered substantially this frame by Independence Day-weekend moviegoing, which always is strong. That means the real test of its long-distance abilities will come during its third weekend, when "Transformers" faces wide-opening competition from a pair of comedies -- "Universal's "Bruno" and Fox's "I Love You, Beth Cooper" -- before Warners' boxoffice magnet of a tentpole "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" hits the marketplace July 15.

Two comedies bow in wide release Wednesday ahead of a three-day boxoffice frame in which the July 4 holiday falls on Saturday. Fox sends out its family-targeting animated feature "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs," a 3D three-quel, and Universal unspools its R-rated period crime actioner "Public Enemies" starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale.

Amid all that big-bucks competition, Warners execs hope "Keeper" can maintain decent market traction as a counterprogramming alternative for females. During its opening weekend, the book-based drama attracted audiences skewing 86% female, with 51% of patrons under 25.

"Keeper" carries a negative cost of less than $30 million.

"This is going to be a profitable movie for us," Warners distribution president Dan Fellman said. "Many pictures driven by female moviegoers play stronger than other films midweek, and we expect to have a strong and successful run."
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