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Paramount’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon has transformed into the third best worldwide debut of all time, smashing records and grossing a whopping $372 million through Sunday.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince scored the best worldwide debut of all time in grossing $394 million, followed by Spider-Man 3 at $382 million.
With the actual July 4th holiday still to go, Michael Bay’s Dark of the Moon should finish Monday with a total opening gross of $405.8 million. That would not change its status compared to Half-Blood Prince and Spider-Man, since Monday’s grosses don’t count in terms of the record.
STORY: ‘Transformers’ Now on Track to Earn $180 Million Domestically Through July 4th
Domestically, Dark of the Moon’s gross through Sunday was $162 million. It’s expected to earn another $18.8 million Monday for a total domestic launch of $180.8 million.
That’s behind the $200 million earned by Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in its six-day domestic debut but well ahead of the $155.4 earned by the first film in the Shia LaBeouf action franchise.
Dark of the Moon is an undisputed monster overseas, where it’s already grossed $210 million, the best debut of all time for Paramount International and beating the $147 million earned by Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
STORY: ‘Transformers 3’ Earns $37.3 Mil, Best Opening Day Gross of 2011
Through Monday, Paramount puts the movie’s foreign cume at $225 million.
Dark of the Moon is pacing 50% ahead of the foreign launch of Revenge of the Fallen ($139.6 million) and has 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.
VIDEO: Shia LaBeouf Jokes ‘Transformers 3’ Is ‘Crap’ on ‘Jimmy Kimmel’
“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 $22.5 million worldwide, a record for the large format exhibitor.
Domestically, Dark of the Moon hit another milestone — its Friday through Sunday gross of $97.4 million is the best three-day number ever for the July 4th weekend.
STORY: Shia LaBeouf: 5 Things You Didn’t Know
The same glow didn’t extend to the Tom Hanks-Julia Roberts starrer Larry Crowne, which grossed an estimated $13 million through Sunday to come in No. 4 at the domestic box office, behind Dark of the Moon and holdovers Cars 2 and Bad Teacher.
Universal’s four-day estimate for Larry Crowne is $15.6 million, a meek number considering the film’s star power.
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.
VIDEO: Tom Hanks Dons ‘Man Spanx’ for ‘Larry Crowne’ Underwear Scene
Universal is distributing Larry Crowne on behalf of Hanks’ Playtone and Vendome Pictures, which fully financed the $30 million drama-comedy.
The third new film debuting nationwide over the four-day holiday weekend was 20th Century Fox’s tween girl pic Monte Carlo, which grossed an estimated $7.6 million through Sunday (Fox isn’t providing a four-day estimate until Monday morning).
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.
STORY: ‘Monte Carlo’s’ Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester Reveal Film Secrets
Placing No. 2 over the holiday weekend, Disney/Pixar’s Cars 2 grossed $25.1 million through Sunday for a domestic cume of $116 million.
The 3D toon is expected to earn another $5.5 million Monday, upping its total to $121.5 million. It fell more than most Pixar titles, but was likely impacted to some extent by Dark of the Moon.
Sony’s raunchy Cameron Diaz comedy Bad Teacher held nicely, grossing $14.1 million through Sunday for a cume of $59.5 million in its second weekend. The R-rated pic should finish Monday with a total $62.4 million.
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