Michael Bay is back with the fourth installment of his toy-based, explosion-happy franchise. Boasting an all-new cast and some renewed fan excitement, Transformers: Age of Extinction could very well open north of $100 million this weekend—and become the highest opener of the year, punching Captain America: The Winter Soldier to the No. 2 spot.
The nearly $200 million film opens in 4,200 locations domestically, including late Thursday night showings. It also opens in 37 markets internationally, including Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Russia and Australia. No matter how you shake it, the debut will be a monster one, even if Paramount is hedging its bets by putting the pic in the high $90 million range. It’s the only movie opening wide this weekend, Mark Wahlberg is a solid box-office draw, and ticketing pre-sales are off the charts — representing 96 percent of Fandango’s weekend ticket sales and 58 percent of tickets sold on MovieTickets.com in the past 24 hours.
Here’s how things might play out:
1. Transformers: Age of Extinction—$103 million
It’s been three years since the last installment hit theaters, and the film’s likely success will once again be powered by hungry fans, eager to see what Bay has cooked up for Wahlberg and the Dinobots. The first three films in the $2.7 billion franchise all opened mid-week, but Age of Extinction will still rank well amongst them. The first film opened to $70.5 million in 2007; the second, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, opened at nearly $109 million in 2009; and the last LaBoeuf pic, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, opened at $97.9 million in 2011. Critics may hate it (it’s currently at 16 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and the nearly three-hour run time may be daunting, but Bay looks poised to have yet another hit on his hands.
2. 22 Jump Street—$15 million
The sequels that have dominated the box office for the past few weeks will all pale in comparison to Transformers, and could all net out with similar takes this weekend. If 22 Jump Street falls 45 percent, it’ll surpass the $138.4 million 15 week domestic cume of the first film. And this is only weekend three.
3. Think Like a Man Too—$14 million
Sony’s raucous couples-in-Vegas sequel will likely slide 50 percent in weekend two. Though not a terrible showing at all, it’s looking like this will not be another $100 million pic for star Kevin Hart.
4. How to Train Your Dragon 2—$13 million
The Fox sequel, though liked by critics, continues to lag behind the first, despite holding up well mid-week. It could get a boost over the Fourth of July holiday with families looking for an air-conditioned escape.
5. Jersey Boys—$7 million
The $40 million Broadway adaptation from Warner Bros. may not have wooed critics, but audiences gave it a decent A- Cinema Score. It’ll likely drop around 45 percent in weekend two due to lingering interest from older audiences who weren’t necessarily going to rush out on the first weekend to see the Clint Eastwood-directed pic.
In limited release, if the slate of sequels aren’t your thing, The Weinstein Company’s sci-fil thriller Snowpiercer debuts in 8 theaters, and its Keira Knightley-Mark Ruffalo music biz romance Begin Again opens in 5. Weinstein’s fashion biopic Yves Saint Laurent also opened in three locations on Wednesday. Lionsgate also begins its rollout of Dinesh D’Souza’s America, which will expand to about 1,000 theaters next weekend.