Michael Bay’s Transformers series may never have been a hit with critics, but the CGI-heavy action films have always raked in enough cash to fill an Optimus Prime-sized swimming pool. But with the latest installment, the return of Mark Wahlberg and the addition of Anthony Hopkins may not be enough to propel Transformers: The Last Knight to the franchise’s previous box office success.
The Last Knight opened Wednesday to an estimated $15.7 million, the lowest single-day opening for any film in the franchise (even those that similarly debuted in the middle of the week).
By comparison, 2014’s Age of Extinction opened on a Friday to $41.9 million, whereas 2011’s Dark of the Moon and 2009’s Revenge of the Fallen both debuted on a Wednesday, to $37.7 million and $29.1 million respectively. The original Transformers opened on a Tuesday in 2007, earning $27.9 million.
Pre-release tracking indicated that The Last Knight was expected to launch with a five-day domestic debut around $70 million, but this soft Wednesday opening (where it earned a B+ CinemaScore) suggests that its five-day take may be closer to $60-65 million. Either way, that would give The Last Knight’s the lowest debut for any film in the franchise. That’s not exactly good news for the latest Hasbro-toy-inspired film, which boasts a $217 million price tag.
Still, the Transformers series has always raked in big bucks internationally, and The Last Knight could make up ground when it launches this weekend in 42 international markets, including China and the U.K. Age of Extinction only earned $245.4 million domestically when it hit theaters in 2014, a series low, but massive international numbers helped propel it to a worldwide total of $1.1 billion.
The Last Knight’s success (or failure) could have a major impact on the future of the Transformers franchise, which has a Bumblebee-centric spinoff slated for release in 2018.
The Last Knight is the only nationwide release scheduled for this weekend, with holdovers Cars 3, Wonder Woman, All Eyez On Me, and The Mummy expected to round out the top five. In limited release, Sofia Coppola’s Southern gothic drama The Beguiled and the Kumail Nanjiani-starring rom-com The Big Sick will both open in select theaters.