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Transformers Gets Revenge on the Critics

June 29th, 2009

The biggest opening of the year, and in some respects the biggest opening weekend ever, helped the overall box office recover from its mini-slump, with moviegoers spending just a hair shy of $200 million on tickets over the weekend. This was up 32% from last weekend and 7.9% higher than the same weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2009 has now amassed $5.13 billion in ticket sales, which is 12% higher than last year's pace. It has been a long, long time since we've seen this kind of year-over-year growth, and while it is likely the box office will cool down over the rest of the summer, this is still an amazing performance.

Despite earning reviews that were just 20% positive, which is barely above "totally unacceptable" and merely "really bad, even for fans of the genre," Transformers - Revenge of the Fallen set records over the past five days. Not only did it earn the second-biggest day of all time, it was the biggest Wednesday and biggest day in June. It then became only the second film in history to open on a Wednesday and still manage more than $100 million from Friday to Sunday, just topping Shrek 2's previous record. It also had the second-best five-day total and the best Wednesday through Sunday total ever. The key numbers are $62,016,476 for its opening day, $108,966,307 over its opening weekend, and $200,077,255 after five days. Simply massive. Where does it go from here? Given the reviews, I would not be that surprised if the film fails to earn $200,077,255 during the rest of its entire theatrical run, but that would still leave it with $400 million, or at least close to it, at the box office, which is enough for a Top Ten finish on the all-time charts. And by the time the third film finishes its run, the franchise will have likely made $1 billion domestically and $2 billion worldwide.

Second place went to The Proposal, which came within a rounding error of expectations with $18.58 million over the weekend for a total of $69.16 million after two. Its sophomore stint drop-off of 45% was good for the genre, and it makes reaching $100 million academic. Reaching $125 million, on the other hand, is probably out of reach, but it could come close.

The Hangover beat expectations over the weekend, but this is becoming the norm for this film. Over the past three days it added $17.02 million to give it a total of $183.05 million, and leaving it about a week away from $200 million. It is rare for R-rated films or comedies to reach that milestone, and it is almost unheard of for R-rated comedies to do so. In fact, this movie is almost guaranteed to surpass the other other such film, The Wedding Crashers, and become the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time.

Up was also impressive over the weekend, reaching $250 million on Sunday after earning fourth place with $13.06 million. It was the first film of the year to reach that milestone, although both Transformers - Revenge of the Fallen and Star Trek will join it there shortly. By this time next week, Up will surpass The Incredibles as the second-biggest hit in Pixar's history, and it has an outside chance of reaching $300 million.

Opening in fifth place was My Sister's Keeper with a better than expected $12.44 million. This is strong for a counter-programming release, and even with mixed reviews, it should have better legs than Transformers, for instance. Even so, it is unlikely that the film will match original expectations, but at least it could come close, while the production budget is lower than expected, which should help it earn a profit sometime during its home market run.

Moving onto the sophomore class, Year One saw serious declines, and was down more than 69% to $6.02 million over the weekend for a total of $32.53 million after two. At this point, $50 million will be nearly impossible to reach, which means the film will earn less than half of original expectations.


Filed under: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Up, The Hangover, The Proposal, My Sister's Keeper, Year One