MONDAY PM: Paramount is announcing bigger actual numbers. “More theatres ran midnight shows than we had originally forecast. And a number of Imax locations that aren’t in multiplexes and are not in the reporting system did huge grosses,” an exec explains. So Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen opened to a 3-day weekend total is $108.9M and 5-day overall is $200M from 4,234 theaters. The breakdown is $32M for Sunday, $40.2M for Saturday, $36.7M Friday, $29M Thursday, and a record smashing $62M Wednesday. Included are 169 IMAX screens which contributed a giant $14.5M to the 5 day total. Internationally, the robot sequel made $166.1M with a cume of $190.3M including the early debuts in Japan and the UK. So that makes for $390.4M worldwide, a nice haul for the 100%-owned Viacom title. (There have been some erroneous reports that Steven Spielberg has a piece of the new pic, but I’m told he has no personal financial interest in it. He received an executive producer credit and commensurate fee, but the movie falls under the original acquisition deal when Paramount acquired DreamWorks SKG.) What’s amazing is that Transformers 2 even came as close as it did — No. 2 — to challenging the biggest ever 5-day opening record of $203.8M set by Warner Bros’ 2008 The Dark Knight since Christopher Nolan’s film received great reviews, and the critics hated Michael Bay’s popcorn pic. But TF2 proved the definition of a summer movie: loud, mindless, and therefore controversial as a blockbuster. Still, Warner Bros closely watched the DK vs TF2 contest: of all the studios, WB gave the Paramount pic the lowest 5-day numbers.
In terms of records, Transformers 2’s Wednesday midnights broke the previous post-midnight Wednesday record set by 2007’s Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix: $16M vs $12M. It also smashed the Wednesday opening record set by that Harry Potter 5: $62M vs $44.2M. (DK opened on a Friday.) And TF2 shattered the biggest Wednesday 5-day opener of all time set by 2004’s Spider-Man 2: $200M vs $152.4M. And it came in 2nd to Dark Knight for biggest opening day ever: $62M vs $67.1M, and for biggest ever 5-day opening: $200M vs $203.8M.
SATURDAY PM: Sources tell me Paramount’s Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen is looking like it took in $39.5 Saturday and $36.7M Friday from 4,234 theaters. The studio is now estimating its 3-day weekend cume is bigger than expected: $115M vs $90M previously anticipated despite lousy reviews. But execs say the robot sequel will “only” get to $200M for the 5-day opening total. Which means the rock’em, sock’em pic isn’t expected to gun down the 5-day opening record of $203.8M set by last summer’s The Dark Knight.
THURSDAY 10:30 PM: Sources tell me that Paramount’s Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen logged a $28.6M Thursday. That’s $3M more than the studio expected. The pic has now made $89.3M in two days from 4,234 North American theaters, including 169 Imax locations which earned $2.3M Thursday and $1M Wednesday. Now the robot sequel is on its way to a $185+M five-day total. To beat the record, it would have to equal The Dark Knight‘s $203.8M. (Impossible?) But Transformers 2 is certain to post the 2nd best ever 5-day domestic total. Internationally, the pic has made just over $80M through Thursday after opening day and date in almost every territory.
THURSDAY AM UPDATE: It’s now officially a rock-‘em, sock-‘em summer! Paramount’s Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen shattered the Wednesday opening record set by Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix (#5) in 2007: $60.6M vs $44.2M. Even better for the studio, Transformers 2 came in 2nd only to 2008 box office phenomenon The Dark Knight for biggest opening day ever: $60.6M vs $67.1M. So now 2007 Spider-Man 3‘s $59.8M single day take drops down to #3. The robot sequel grosses from 4,234 North American theaters are $16M more than Paramount expected. That puts the sci-fi actioner on track for a $175M five-day opening despite overwhelmingly lousy reviews. But Paramount boasted how exit polling showed that 91% of the audience said “they liked this movie as much or better than the first”. So this Decepticons vs Autobots battle is reviewer-proof.
WEDNESDAY AM: Let’s be clear: Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen did not break the overall post-midnight preview record of $18.4 million (from 3,040 theaters) set by The Dark Knight on a Friday last summer, but is now 3rd of all time behind Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith‘s $16.9M (in 2,915 plays in 2005). But the Paramount sequel playing 12:01 AM shows in 3,000+ venues sure came closer than anyone thought possible. Rival studios had expected only between $10M-$12M in midnight shows. So the $16M for Transformers 2 smashed that and more. It broke the previous post-midnight Wednesday record of $12M set by the most recent Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix in 2007. Naturally, Paramount has a sure-shot to shatter that pic’s $44M Wednesday record opening as well as the biggest Wednesday 5-day opener of all time Spider-Man 2‘s grosses of $152.4M in 2004. The studio’s estimated 5-day breakdown for Transformers 2 as it expands into a huge release of 4,226 runs now stands at $45M for Wednesday, $25M for Thursday, and $90M for Friday-Sunday. That’s in line with Paramount’s estimate of $160M which I reported a month ago. But rival studios are pegging the 5-day estimated total at $165M-$175M. “Reviews have been venomous, and I get that it’s review proof. But it won’t be the zeitgeist movie that last summer’s Dark Knight was,” one competitor told me. “It’s a big-ass opening movie that will fall precipitously.” (*These numbers aren’t adjusted for inflation or ticket prices.)