Box-Office Preview: 'Transformers 5' Looks for Biggest Bang Overseas

The latest outing in the Paramount-Hasbro franchise, reteaming director Michael Bay and star Mark Wahlberg, is opening wide domestically on Wednesday.

The latest big-budget Hollywood tentpole to unfurl at the summer box office hopes to overcome any sequel fatigue in the U.S. by transforming into a monster overseas.

Paramount and Hasbro's Transformers: The Last Knight, directed by Michael Bay, is getting a jump on the weekend by opening everywhere in North America on Wednesday, following previews Tuesday night. The studio puts the film's budget at $217 million before a major marketing spend.

According to prerelease tracking, the fifth outing in the franchise is projected to post a five-day domestic debut in the $70 million-$75 million range, notably behind than the $100 million North American launch of the last title, Transformers: Age of Extinction, over the three-day June 27-29 weekend in 2014 and the lowest in the Hasbro toy-based series.

Instead, The Last Knight — similar to recent high-profile summer tentpole Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales — is counting on sizable returns internationally, where Age of Extinction grossed a massive $858.6 million to become the first Transformers movie to top the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office on its way to resting at $1.1 billion, not accounting for inflation. The domestic portion was $245.4 million, which, again, was the lowest in the film series.

The Last Knight opens in its first 42 foreign territories this weekend, including a slew of major markets, such as China, the U.K., Russia, Australia, Germany, Italy, North Korea and Hong Kong.

Bay's movie could easily repeat the pattern set by Dead Men Tell No Tales. That film opened to a franchise-low $63 million domestically but has found treasure overseas, where it has grossed $500 million to date for a global total of $651.1 million, including more than $144 million in China.

Mark Wahlberg returns to star in The Last Knight — he made his franchise debut in the last film — while Laura Haddock and Anthony Hopkins join 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. The specialty box office sees the debut of two high-profile titles in select theaters Friday: Focus Features' The Beguiled, from director Sofia Coppola, and Lionsgate's The Big Sick, helmed by Michael Showalter