The Transformers might be fighting for their existence in Michael Bay’s fourth installment in the toy-to-movie series, but the film itself is not just surviving — it’s on track to become the highest opener of the year. Sorry, Cap.
Featuring a brand new cast, including Mark Wahlberg, T.J. Miller, Nicola Peltz, Kelsey Grammer, and Stanley Tucci, Transformers: Age of Extinction brought in an estimated $41.6 million from 4,233 locations, Friday. That includes Thursday night’s $8.75 million take from approximately 2,990 locations as well, which started showing Paramount’s nearly 3 hour spectacle at 9 p.m. After some Friday morning hand-wringing, it looks like the blockbuster is still on track for a $100 million + opening — which would be a career high for Wahlberg (whose highest opening to date is the 2001 Planet of the Apes). It also picked up $80 million from international showings, bringing its worldwide total to a staggering $121.6 million.
Coming nearly three years after Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which concluded the Shia LaBeouf-era of the franchise, this latest take picks up five years later in the skittish aftermath of the epic battle in Chicago. All alien activity is to be reported to the government, and Kelsey Grammer’s black ops teams is ready to destroy even the friendliest Transformers. Things really kick into gear after Mark Walhberg’s Texas inventor Cade realizes the junky truck he’s been repairing is actually Optimus Prime.
As you might expect, critics aren’t loving this fourth outing. In his D+ review, EW’s Chris Nashawaty wrote, “It isn’t just narratively incoherent. It’s one of the tackiest and crassest blockbusters I’ve ever seen, wasting no opportunity to shamelessly plug products such as Bud Light, Chevy, and Beats by Dr. Dre. It doesn’t even try to conceal its cynicism.” Still, audiences (64 percent male and 42 percent under age 25) gave the nearly $200 million, explosion-happy pic a decent A- Cinema Score. That’s probably a little low for a group that likely consisted of die-hard fans, but it’s not terrible at all.
Outside of this weekend’s only new, wide release, things mostly played out as expected, but, Sony’s Think Like a Man Too could be on track for a much steeper 70+ percent fall in weekend two. Also, Disney’s Maleficent nudged last weekend’s other new pic, Jersey Boys, out of the top five on Friday.
Here’s the top five:
1. Transformers: Age of Extinction—$41.6 million
2. 22 Jump Street—$5.0 million
3. How to Train Your Dragon 2—$4.1 million
4. Think Like a Man Too—$3.4 million
5. Maleficent—$2.59 million
In limited release, The Weinstein Company’s Begin Again, starring Keira Knightley as an aspiring musician, took in an estimated $43K from five locations. We’ll update with more speciality box office numbers as they come in.
Check back in tomorrow for the full weekend report.