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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Klady 4: Age Of Bad Sequels

Friday Estimates 2014-06-28 at 8.03.02 AM

With all due respect, this is not the domestic opening Paramount had been hoping for. It’s a very strong opening, no question… but it may not hit $100m and if it does, it will likely nudge it softly. This is the first Transformers movie to open on a Friday, which suggests—especially with this just-above a few other summer openings start—that Paramount knew that the box office explosiveness of the franchise is now fading, at least here at home.

The first Transformers feature was at $36.7m on opening day (a Tuesday, with early shows that started before 10p on Monday). Transformers 2 opening day was $43.2m (a Wednesday, boosted by early shows on Tuesday). And T3 had a $62m opening day (on a Wednesday).

God bless Rob Moore and company for trying to sell the media monkeys on the idea that this was a great domestic opening. I have no idea where the film’s numbers will end up being over the weekend. But as is the norm in this situation now, the domestic box office is not the real focus. But there seems to be a bit of dancing around on the international numbers also… which also look very strong… but not eye-popping, especially when you factor in the changes in the Chinese theatrical.

China reportedly represents $30 million of the $80 million international being reported as of Friday, $20m of which is “new” since the last film in the franchise. So 33% of the reported 42% growth internationally so far is in China alone. And, of course, China allows US distributors about half what other countries do in rentals. So on the net books, it’s about a 19% increase in international coming back to Par so far. Again… very good. Just not quite what is being reported on the numbers around town.

I expect Transformers: Age of Extinction to take a hit domestically (which is not any more about reviews this time than in the last 3 incarnations). It will almost certainly become the #1 film in the US this summer, though the bar of $256.8m set by Lego and Cap 2 may be too much to expect. The big money will come from overseas and the $771m international haul from the last film in the franchise will be the minimum target.

Of course, all of these numbers still blow away the top worldwide of 2014 so far, Cap 2‘s $711 million. I would not be shocked if Tr4 turned out to come up just short of the billion $ mark. (Nor will it be shocking if it does… or even passes $1.13 billion.) It would be shocking if it didn’t get to $900 million.

We will see.

Transformers is a monster. It’s not a dog now. I’m not suggesting that at all. But it’s not the behemoth, breaking records and taking names, that some saw coming after a solid, but not exceptional summer to date. One summer is not a trend. But we could be seeing a new normal developing. And Transformers may be as much a part of that as everything else has been in this summer.

Also in the “good, but let’s reserve judgement” ranks are the two strongest new indies, Begin Again and Snowpiercer, which should end up around $23k and $14k per screen. Lots and lots of publicity on both these films… and a long way to go.

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24 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Klady 4: Age Of Bad Sequels”

  1. BoulderKid says:

    Decent but not great number for Transformers. Among relatively intelligent filmgoers actually treking out to see one of these movies on your own dime has become an embarassment.

    Does anyone else think the stage is set for Planet of the Apes to really pop? The trailer shown before X Men and I assume other films was really effective and there is a reservoir of good will from the first film for this next entry. I could easily see this doing a Godzilla/Transformers opening but staying much better than either one.

  2. The Hey says:

    Given the TWC put Snowpiecer in some sort of Movie Witness Protection Program 14K/screen is not bad at all. It means people are seeking it out.

  3. movieman says:

    …and they’re apparently adding screens for “Snowpiercer” next Wednesday.

    Not enough for it to play my podunk town (of course), but still.
    I know that it’s getting several screens in the Cleveland market, not all of them arthouses.

  4. movieman says:

    I haven’t been the biggest “Transformers” fan until now (talk about an understatement!), but “Age of Extinction” delighted me in all the ways that a summer/tentpole movie should.
    Wahlberg–by virtue of his innate likability–humanizes the franchise in a way no previous actor ever did. (I’m looking at you, Shia.)
    And Tucci seems to be having such a ball that it sort of rubbed off on me.
    Yeah, it’s 30-40 minutes too long (duh), but the concluding Beijing section is pretty darn terrific. (The fight scene between Wahlberg and Titus Welliver deserves to become some kind of classic.)
    I also really enjoyed the contextualizing Texas scenes w/ Wahlberg, the kids and T.J. Miller. (It was a hoot and a half seeing “Silicon Valley”‘s Erlich.)
    So a very surprised thumb’s up from moi.
    For whatever that’s worth to Hot Bloggers, lol.

  5. chris says:

    “the concluding Beijing section”

    Have I managed to forget it already? Doesn’t it conclude in Hong Kong?

  6. movieman says:

    I thought it was primarily set in Beijing: I remember a reference to Hong Kong in the dialogue, but I thought that’s all it was.
    (That apartment building was Beijing, no?)
    I know that I read about how big a role China played in the (making of the) film–and that the Chinese market was receiving beaucoup marketing attention because of it.

  7. Bitplayer says:

    Being a Chinese co-production theoretically gets them on more screens. But when you are dealing with what is basically a dictatorship they can change the rules any time they wan.t

  8. chris says:

    The confusion is probably a tribute to how little Bay cares about location or temporal issues. I’m pretty sure the movie has a brief sojourn in Beijing, so we can revisit some of the Olympic parks, and then decamps to Hong Kong for the rest of the film.

  9. movieman says:

    OK, I got it. (At least I think I do.)
    Beijing is the city w/ the slums (including the tenement apartment building where Wahlberg and Welliver have their rock ’em/sock ’em fight).
    HK was the considerably glossier-looking locale where the film ends up

    Guess you can tell I’ve never been to Asia…except at the movies, lol.

  10. Jack1137 says:

    You never get the Trannies you want but the Trannies you get.

  11. brack says:

    A pretty strong number for any fourth film. Paramount may have hoped for more, but that’s unrealistic thinking, since you said yourself David, it opened on Friday, slightly contradicting yourself.

    Anyway, like the last two movies, it’s too long, but I knew that going in, as anyone should at this point with this franchise. Walhberg has helped the franchise mature a little on the human side, and the story is pretty decent. Gone are a lot of stupid dick and fart jokes from the other movies from one too many side characters. Just don’t expect it to be significantly better than the other movies, but I’d say it does a good job seamlessly transitioning from the last one to this one.

    I do wish at this point in the franchise that we could do without the focus on the humans with the Transformers as side characters (though Prime is more of a co-star than ever). We know Transformers aren’t robots. We don’t need humans to make audiences “care” anymore.

  12. Ray Pride says:

    And a buncha HK stuff was supposedly shot in Illinois.

  13. chris says:

    Nope, movieman, the tenement is also Hong Kong. Honestly, the China part is very short.

  14. movieman says:

    Really Chris?
    So much for all the “Beijing This” and “Beijing That” in the press release(s).

    Either way–and whatever the actual locale–that tenement apartment fight sequence is a humdinger.
    It’s the one part of the movie I actually wanted to last longer.

  15. EtGuild2 says:

    A pretty alarming drop for JERSEY BOYS.

  16. Amblinman says:

    Am I too cynical in believing Snowpiercer wouldn’t make a dent at the box office even if it had a wide release? Am I too negative about mainstream audiences?

  17. movieman says:

    Am I too cynical in believing Snowpiercer wouldn’t make a dent at the box office even if it had a wide release? Am I too negative about mainstream audiences?


  18. JoJo says:

    “Either way–and whatever the actual locale–that tenement apartment fight sequence is a humdinger.”

    It looked completely fake, especially when they were jumping level-to-level. The whole sequence was unremarkable at best. Fast and Furious and Bourne have done something similar, but better (as have any number of martial arts/parkour movies).

  19. doug r says:

    Didn’t the first one end in “Star City”? I don’t know why they didn’t say downtown LA, since you can see a sign for Seventh Avenue in one shot.

  20. movieman says:

    I thought it was pretty kickass, JoJo.
    Or maybe I was just happy to see some man-on-man vs. robot-on-robot action.

  21. Chucky says:

    “Does anyone else think the stage is set for Planet of the Apes to really pop?”

    No — it opens two days before the World Cup final.

  22. jesse says:

    “Do you guys want to go see the awesome-looking Apes movie coming out on Friday?”

    “Nah, the World Cup final is on Sunday.”

  23. SamLowry says:

    “[Star Trek 3] marks Orci’s directorial debut. Orci, who co-wrote the first two movies, will also help pen “Star Trek 3.” He co-wrote “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ and the first two “Transformers” movies.”

    I congratulate the Variety writer who convinced me in three short, opinion-free sentences that TREK 3 will be a steaming pile of shit.

    Naysayers, please point out anything in that paragraph that doesn’t bring fecal matter to mind.

  24. Hallick says:

    “A pretty alarming drop for JERSEY BOYS.”

    Sorry but I couldn’t hear that over the four-alarm earbleed-inducing drop for “Think Like a Man Too”.

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