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Transforming the Record Books?

June 24th, 2009

We may have a number of records broken this weekend, as potentially the biggest hit of the year, Transformers - Revenge of the Fallen, makes its debut. Or perhaps the film will have to settle for second place for a lot of records to last year's The Dark Knight, among other films. For instance, the film had midnight showings on Tuesday earning $16 million, which is very impressive, but The Dark Knight earned 15% more. But what about going forward?

Transformers - Revenge of the Fallen opens in full tonight in 4,234, which is the sixth widest opening weekend (assuming it doesn't add any additional theaters on Friday). It is looking to top Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for biggest Wednesday opening, a record that currently sits at $44.23 million. Given the amount of buzz surrounding this movie, it could enter the record books here. But given the film's reviews, that could be the last record the film earns, at least the last positive record. 'Big, loud, and dumb' appears to be the general consensus among critics, which is fine for a summer blockbuster, as long as it is a well made 'Big, loud, and dumb' film. At just 22% positive, this is not the case. Granted, I wasn't expecting Oscar-worthy reviews, or even 50% positive reviews, but I was expecting more than this. I would have looked upon 40% positive as a perfectly acceptable Tomatometer Score for a film like this, but at barely more than 20% positive, the word-of-mouth will likely be weak, even within its target demographic.

If the film doesn't earn at least $40 million today, we could be in trouble, while $50 million would indicate records will fall. Splitting the difference, and we get an opening day prediction of $45 million, and the record. However, expect a 60% drop-off for Thursday, before rebounding close to 50% on Friday while earning $80 million over the weekend. If all goes well, it could earn over well over $150 million over five days, giving the film the best Wednesday to Sunday opening ever, and putting it on track to hit $350 million in total. But it is more likely that it will have to settle for second place behind Spider-man 2, while ending its run at just over $300 million. If reports are accurate and it did cost $250 million to make, extending the franchise to a Trilogy could be a bit of a risk, especially if they don't get control of the production costs.

As for the rest of the top five, we will get to those films tomorrow with out regularly scheduled box office prediction column.


Filed under: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen