NEW YORK: 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 US and Canadian theatres.
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.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2014.