Box Office: 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' Earns $13.5 Million From Tuesday Night Showings

Transformers: Dark of the Moon Review 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon Review 2011

The Paramount three-quel made $5.5 million in special pre-midnight 3D sneaks.

Paramount's Transformers: Dark of the Moon grossed $13.5 million special 3D and midnight shows Tuesday night.

In a novel marketing move, Paramount hosted sneaks Tuesday evening in 2,700 3D theaters as a way to pump up 3D attendance.

That was followed by midnight shows in both regular and 3D theaters. All told, 70% of the $13.5 million came from 3D locations, including $1.4 million from 146 Imax theaters.

The sneaks earned $5.5 million, while midnight grosses were $8 million.

It's a strong start for Michael Bay's three-quel, which returns Shia LaBeouf in the title role, even if Tuesday’s business was behind the second Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which grossed $16 million in midnight shows.

Paramount is prepared for the three-quel to come in behind Revenge of the Fallen, considering the depressed domestic marketplace. Revenge of the Fallen opened to roughly $200 million in its first five days; Paramount expects Dark of the Moon to gross $155 million to $165 million through July 4th.

Dark of the Moon came in well ahead of the first Transformers, which grossed $8.8 million in Tuesday evening and midnight shows. And it beat the $4.7 million earned by Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides in midnight shows earlier this summer. However, Warner Bros.' The Hangover Part II remains the top pic of 2011 in terms of midnight shows, earning $10.4 million.

Dark of the Moon has enormous earning potential overseas, considering the booming market for Hollywood tentpoles, and 3D event pics in particular. On Stranger Tides grossed $260.4 million in its first five days at the international box office.