'Transformers' turns into box office behemoth with $100 million opening

Monday, 30 June 2014 - 1:06am IST | Agency: Reuters

" Transformers: Age of Extinction," the fourth in the series of films about form-changing Autobot robots that save the planet, powered up with $100 million in box office sales, jump-starting a sleepy summer with the year's biggest opening weekend.

"22 Jump Street," starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, was second with $15.4 million in its third week in theaters, according to studio estimates. Animated film "How to Train Your Dragon 2" took the No. 3 spot with sales of $13.1 million for the Friday through Sunday period at U.S. and Canadian theaters.

"Transformers: Age of Extinction" stars Mark Wahlberg in his first outing taking on the evil Dinobots. The series' three previous installments, starring Shia LeBeouf, generated nearly $2.7 billion in worldwide sales, according to Box Office Mojo.

"It's just a spectacular result," said Don Harris, president of domestic theatrical distribution for Paramount.

The film took in more than $200 million overseas, an indication of "what a beloved franchise this is worldwide," Harris added, crediting director Michael Bay who helmed all four installments.

"Transformers" added another $10.7 million on domestic IMAX screens and $16.6 million internationally.

Made for more than $200 million, the film pits Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and other Autobots against new villains. It met industry projections for its opening weekend.

The nearly three-hour movie garnered mostly poor reviews, with only 17% of 121 critics giving it a "fresh" rating, according to the site Rotten Tomatoes, but ticket buyers gave the film an A- rating according to polling service CinemaScore.

Prior to the opening of "Transformers," summer ticket sales had lagged last year by 15%, according to the box office tracking site Rentrak, when blockbusters such as "Iron Man 3," "Monsters University," and "Fast & Furious 6" drove ticket sales.

Last weekend's box office leader "Think Like a Man Too," a comedy starring Kevin Hart based on TV personality Steve Harvey's book "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man," was fourth with $10.4 million.

"Maleficent," Walt Disney Co's revision of its 1959 movie "Sleeping Beauty" starring Angelina Jolie as a spell-casting evil fairy, rounded out the top five with $8.2 million and has totaled more than $200 million since opening on May 30.

"Transformers: Age of Extinction" was distributed by Paramount, a unit of Viacom Inc. Sony Corp released "22 Jump Street" and "Think Like a Man Too."

(Editing by Matthew Lewis)




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