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Transformers's Changing Fortunes

July 10th, 2007

Records fell this past week(end) as The Transformers topped almost all expectations and broke a couple of records. However, while the overall box office hit $174 million, which was 12% higher than last weekend, it was 20% lower than the same weekend last year. There are some mitigating circumstances to deal with. For instance, the midweek releases did pull some business from the weekend. And secondly, last year at this time was the then record-breaking opening of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.

After opening with $8.8 million on Monday, The Transformers showed amazing strength during its first full day and wasn't as nearly front-loaded as most people were expecting. In fact, its 7-day total of $155.4 million over that span (including $70.5 million over the weekend), was significantly higher than yesterday's studio estimates and a new record for highest opening week for a non-sequel. However, to put this into perspective, Spider-Man 3 earned almost as much during its first three days. Speaking of Spider-Man 3, The Transformers earned very similar reviews, but just missed the overall positive level. This should help compensate for the Fanboy Effect and gives the film a shot at $300 million by the end of its run. Even if it doesn't get there, it is already one of the best TV adaptations of all time and should top The Fugitive and / or Mission: Impossible: II as the biggest TV adaptation ever, depending on how you define the term. (Is a sequel of a TV adaptation still considered a TV adaptation even if it is clearly based on the original movie more than the TV series?) I expect a sequel to be given the official go-ahead sometime this week with rumors regarding which Transformers will return and which ones will make their debut to continue for the next two years.

On a side note, where the hell are my deluxe, executive Transformers? I was expecting someone to put out highly articulated, transforming models for adults like me who never quite grew up. I am willing to pay $100 to $200 for a display case quality transforming model, especially if it is a Generation 1 version, and I can't be the only Uber Geek out there who feels the same way. We are a marketing group that is under-served right now.

It turns out my gut instinct was just a little too large for Ratatouille to swallow as the film took in $29.0 million over the weekend for a 10-day total of $109.5 million. During its second weekend of release, the film earned almost $5 million less than Cars did during its sophomore stint. However, the midweek holiday obviously cut into Ratatouille's weekend numbers while helping the film gain significant ground overall. The film is just $7.5 million behind the previous Pixar blockbuster and with unbelievably positive reviews, it should continue to play catch up over the coming weeks.

Live Free or Die Hard finished within a rounding error of expectations with $17.7 million over the weekend, $31.5 million since Tuesday, and $84.4 million in total. It has now topped the original at the box office, at least in terms of raw dollars, and should hit $100 million by this time next weekend.

Despite some warning signs, License to Wed lived up to expectations, at least over the weekend, earning $10.4 million from Friday to Sunday and $17.8 million in total. Given the reviews, it might not make that much during the rest of its run.

Evan Almighty also matched expectations nearly perfectly with $8.7 million over the weekend for a total of $78.7 million.

Moving onto the sophomore class we have two films, Sicko and Evening. Sicko remained in ninth place, down just over 20% to $3.6 million over the weekend and $11.5 million in total. However, it was aided by a serious increase in theater count, something that probably won't happen again. Evening, on the other hand, fell just 32% to $2.4 million over the weekend and $8.4 million in total, but this is a case of too little, too late.

One last note, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End reached $300 million over the weekend making it the third such film to do so this year. This ties a record, one that should be broken before the year is done.


Filed under: Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Ratatouille, Live Free or Die Hard, Evan Almighty, License to Wed, Sicko, Evening