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Paramount’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon grossed $37.2 million Wednesday in its first full day of play at the domestic box office, giving it the best opening-day gross of 2011.
Including the $5.5 million earned in Tuesday night sneaks, the Michael Bay tentpole has grossed $42.7 million in its first two days.
The movie is doing strong business in 3D locations, bucking the recent downturn in 3D attendance. Roughly 60% of teh grosses are coming from 3D theaters, including Imax runs, which have ponied up a strong $3.3 million.
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.
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