Weekend Box Office (June 27 - 29, 2014)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND The fourth round of Autobots destruction conquered the global box office as the Michael Bay sequel Transformers: Age of Extinction scored the largest opening of 2014 both domestically and worldwide. The PG-13 film which featured a new cast led by Mark Wahlberg scored a domestic opening weekend which its studio Paramount reported at $100M. Other studios with access to the same data all felt it was really closer to $98M (a less headline-grabbing amount), but Paramount stuck with its reporting which conveniently made it the first film of 2014 to break nine digits on opening weekend. Four hits this year have all bowed to $90M+.

The new installment of loud mayhem averaged $23,633 from 4,233 locations including 3D and IMAX ticket prices. That is fourth best all-time among films opening in June. Comparisons to past Transformers movies are not exact since they debuted mid-week while this new film bowed on a regular Friday with Thursday night pre-shows starting at 9pm. But the last film, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, opened to a stellar $180.7M across six days plus Tuesday night previews also starting at 9pm. The Friday-to-Sunday portion, which did not include the key opening day gross, was $97.9M. Factoring in different conditions, Extinction opened a bit weaker than Moon and should finish its first seven days down about 30% vs. the last installment.

Reviews were mostly negative for the new Transformers and with teens today increasingly skipping multiplexes for their entertainment, it was tough to get much past $100M. Studio research showed that males made up a very high 64% of the crowd and 58% were 25 and over. The CinemaScore grade from paying moviegoers was a good A- so customers were generally satisfied with this as mindless summer escapism which is exactly what it is supposed to be in the first place. All four Transformers movies have opened at this same time of year right before Independence Day.

A robust $10.7M of the gross came from the 353 IMAX screens for an 11% share. Bay used IMAX 3D cameras to shoot much of the product-placement-filled movie. 47% of the gross came from 3D screens including large-format ones which was down from the 60% on Moon. With no new action tentpoles coming next weekend over the Fourth of July holiday, Age of Extinction should be able to keep the strong numbers going on its way to smashing the $200M mark, especially since weekday grosses will be better than those for May tentpoles as all students are now out of school.

The overseas launch of the new Transformers was scorching hot led by a mind-blowing record-shattering opening in China where parts of the film were shot thanks to a strategic partnership in what was by far the largest-grossing international market on the last film in the series. Early estimates put the China opening day at $30M Friday and the opening weekend at $90M (including $9.8M from IMAX) which is an all-time high for a foreign film there. It was also double what Dark of the Moon did when it debuted three years ago. Moon launched in China a month after the US release. This time, the world's two biggest movie markets opened day and date.

Overall, the international debut soared to an incredible $201.3M from only 37 territories including most of the Pacific Rim. After China were Russia with $21.7M which was the second biggest opening of all-time and Korea with $21.5M which was tops for 2014. There is still plenty of upside as many key markets did not open this weekend not wanting to face the distraction of the World Cup. The U.K. opens next weekend while much of Western Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Japan will release after the tournament finishes. But with over $301M globally in under a week, Age of Extinction is well on its way to surpassing $1 billion in worldwide box office just like its predecessor. International growth may even lead to a new franchise high prompting more Optimus Prime flicks.

Sony's comedy sequel 22 Jump Street has been performing well with audiences and held second place with $15.8M in its third weekend. Off 42%, the R-rated hit has now surpassed 21 Jump Street with $140.3M domestic and counting. A final near the $190M mark may result. Worldwide take right now is $194M.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 once again did not show a great hold and has been eroding more like a sequel than like a quality toon with little direct competition. The third round saw $13.2M, down 46%, for a $122M total. After 17 full days of release, Dragon 2's cume is virtually identical to Kung Fu Panda 2's from 2011. That other DreamWorks Animation summer sequel ended its domestic run with $165.2M and the new Dragon should finish in the same ballpark.

The June sequel with the worst legs is Think Like A Man Too which collapsed 65% in its sophomore round to $10.3M. Sony has banked $48.1M and could be headed for about $75-80M. It was the only film in the top ten to fall by more than half.

Maleficent had a good weekend becoming the latest summer blockbuster (along with The Amazing Spider-Man 2) to cross the $200M domestic mark. The Angelina Jolie smash dipped only 35% to $8.4M raising the cume to $202M. Worldwide is now a remarkable $586M. It is now Jolie's highest-grossing live-action film ever domestically, internationally, and globally. It should cross $600M by Saturday when it opens in its final market, Japan, where it hopes to unseat fellow Disney hit Frozen after its historic 16-week reign at number one. Edge of Tomorrow opens there next weekend too.

Clint Eastwood's Jersey Boys dropped a moderate 42% in its second weekend to $7.7M giving Warner Bros. $27.4M to date. The big screen adaptation of the Broadway musical has not been a strong performer and could end with about $50M.

Tom Cruise's sci-fi pic Edge of Tomorrow dropped 45% to $5.4M bumping the total up to $84.3M. With good holds, the Warner Bros. pic is set to surpass the $89.1M of his last film Oblivion which was also a futuristic actioner, and is on course to squeak past the $100M mark. Fox's hit romance The Fault In Our Stars followed with $5.1M, off 40%, for a new cume of $109.9M.

X-Men: Days of Future Past, the summer's highest-grossing hit so far, fell 46% to $3.3M and has banked $223.4M to date for Fox. Breaking $700M worldwide, the latest chapter has allowed the mutant franchise to cross the $3 billion threshold in combined box office across seven films. At $715M and counting, it is the year's biggest global blockbuster to date.

Jon Favreau's Chef continues to be this summer's indie comedy sensation that audiences discover over time. Despite losing theaters in its eighth weekend, the Open Road release dipped a scant 3% to $1.7M for a new cume of $19.4M. Having never played in more than 1,300 theaters, Chef is on course to reach at least $25M and may even hit $30M.

Opening to good results in limited release was the critically acclaimed sci-fi thriller Snowpiercer starring Chris Evans with $171,187 from just eight locations for a $21,398 average from Radius. Parent company The Weinstein Co. also saw a nice start for the Keira Knightley-Mark Ruffalo music industry tale Begin Again with $134,064 from five sites for a $26,813 average.

The top ten films grossed $171M which was down 5% from last year when Monsters University stayed at number one with $45.6M; and off 10% from 2012 when Ted debuted on top with $54.4M.

Compared to projections, Transformers: Age of Extinction opened a few notches below my $104M forecast.

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For a NEW review of Transformers: Age of Extinction visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Tammy, Deliver Us From Evil, and Earth to Echo all open.

# Title Jun 27 - 29 Jun 20 - 22 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Transformers: Age of Extinction $ 100,038,390 4,233 1 $ 23,633 $ 100,038,390 Paramount
2 22 Jump Street 15,842,375 27,460,995 -42.3 3,426 3 4,624 140,279,267 Sony
3 How to Train Your Dragon 2 13,237,697 24,719,312 -46.4 3,750 3 3,530 121,952,229 Fox
4 Think Like A Man Too 10,316,397 29,241,911 -64.7 2,225 2 4,637 48,084,757 Sony
5 Maleficent 8,376,674 12,910,766 -35.1 3,073 5 2,726 202,010,064 Disney
6 Jersey Boys 7,712,264 13,319,371 -42.1 2,905 2 2,655 27,444,750 Warner Bros.
7 Edge of Tomorrow 5,404,290 9,820,080 -45.0 2,535 4 2,132 84,348,922 Warner Bros.
8 The Fault In Our Stars 5,130,777 8,565,710 -40.1 2,845 4 1,803 109,875,795 Fox
9 X-Men: Days of Future Past 3,321,427 6,150,460 -46.0 2,014 6 1,649 223,414,899 Fox
10 Chef 1,657,391 1,708,590 -3.0 801 8 2,069 19,413,440 Open Road
11 Godzilla 935,038 1,888,304 -50.5 750 7 1,247 197,020,138 Warner Bros.
12 Neighbors 785,770 1,368,375 -42.6 510 8 1,541 147,241,155 Universal
13 Blended 593,070 1,007,492 -41.1 475 6 1,249 43,545,859 Warner Bros.
14 A Million Ways to Die in the West 562,975 1,600,550 -64.8 483 5 1,166 41,721,930 Universal
15 Obvious Child 549,878 245,164 124.3 196 4 2,806 1,279,508 A24
16 Rio 2 443,199 413,379 7.2 322 12 1,376 128,146,333 Fox
17 Ek Villain 414,114 103 1 4,021 414,114 Eros
18 Captain America: Winter Soldier 403,920 196,797 105.2 281 13 1,437 257,225,897 Disney
19 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 322,430 633,630 -49.1 274 9 1,177 200,185,511 Sony
20 Million Dollar Arm 300,252 538,050 -44.2 273 7 1,100 35,012,418 Disney
Top 5 $ 147,811,533 $ 107,652,355 37.3
Top 10 171,037,682 135,785,499 26.0
Top 20 176,348,328 142,686,140 23.6
Top 20 vs. 2013 176,348,328 187,361,711 -5.9

Last Updated: July 1, 2014 at 3:15PM ET

Watch Gitesh Pandya's weekly box office preview on CNN International airing live each Thursday at 6:40pm ET.

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