Box Office Report: Michael Bay's 'Transformers 3' on Track to Gross $38 Million on Opening Day

July 1: "Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
Robert Zuckerman/Paramount Pictures

The 'bots are back to help celebrate the  Fourth of July. The third film in the franchise, opens July 1. "Dark of the Moon" was shot in 3D and gets a new leading lady, English model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.


UPDATED: The 3D tentpole is pacing behind the last film, but is still on track to post the best opening-day gross of 2011.

Paramount’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon is expected to gross at least $38 million Wednesday in its first full day of play at the domestic box office, giving it the best opening-day gross of 2011.

So far, Dark of the Moon is pacing ahead of the first Transformers, but behind Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which grossed $62 million in its first day. Revenge of the Fallen opened June 24, 2009, a Wednesday.

Comparisons are difficult, however, both because of the calendar and the marketplace.

The movie got an A CinemaScore, while 55 percent of Wednesday's audience was under the age of 25, a good sign for the movie's prospects. The last film received a B+.

Wednesday’s tally includes $8 million in midnight shows, but doesn’t factor in the $5.5 million earned earlier Tuesday night from special 3D sneaks.

Previously, the best opening day of the year belongs to Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which debuted to $34.8 million, including $4.7 million in midnights, on a Friday.

Dark of the Moon should pick up noticeably as the July 4th holiday weekend gets underway.

Still, Paramount is prepared for the three-quel to come in behind Revenge of the Fallen, which grossed roughly $200 million in its first five days; Paramount expects Dark of the Moon to gross $155 million to $170 million through July 4th, closer to the opening gross of the first Transformers.

Dark of the Moon is doing very well in 3D locations, compared to other recent 3D event pics.