CONTINUOUSLY UPDATED: 'Transformers' Hits Bullseye $150M First Week; Sets Hollywood Non-Sequel 7-Day Record; Explodes For Biggest Fourth Of July Ever

SUNDAY AM: Paramount says PG-13 Transformers officially made $22.7 million Friday and $25.9 million Saturday and a projected $18.9 million Sunday from 4,011 North American theaters. After a record breaking Fourth Of July mid week opening, I’m told the DreamWorks battle of the bots hauled in a hefty $67.6 million this weekend for a 6 1/2 day cume of $152.5 million. So, in even less time, Transformers now has scored the biggest 7-day opening of all time for a non-sequel, passing Spider-Man 1 ($151.6M), The Passion Of The Christ ($144.6M) and Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone ($129.4). In addition, Transformers has grossed $93.6 million in 29 overseas markets representing 40% of the international business. Paramount estimates the global box office by end of day Sunday at $246.1 mil.

SATURDAY AM: Paramount says PG-13 Transformers made $22.5 million Friday from 4,011 North American theaters and has a new cume of $107.4 million. Box office gurus tell me that, after a record breaking Fourth Of July week opening, the DreamWorks battle of the bots should haul in $60 million this weekend for a 6 1/2-day cume of $150 million. That’s 50% more gross receipts than Paramount anticipated, and 20% more than box office gurus predicted. That’s also equivalent to the budget of the rock ’em, sock ’em movie without marketing costs. “Word has gotten out to the parents that it’s OK to take the kids,” a Paramount exec told me Friday. The studio just told me it believes Transformers‘s first 6 1/2 days of release positions it as one of the biggest non-sequel 7-day openings of all time, alongside Spider-Man 1The Passion Of The Christ and Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone. Cinemascope gives Transformers an A with “under 18” and “18 to 24 years olds” giving it an A+. Biggest reason why moviegoers went to see it was “subject matter” (63%) and “type of movie” (35%). Other data have showed a strong nostalgia factor for Transformer toys and toons. Paramount also tells me preliminary exit polling shows that, among general audiences, Transformers is playing strongest with general audiences’ older females (Moms) and through the roof with kids (90% of boys say they would definitely recommend) and parents (82% say they would definitely recommend). But the studio believes that what is making the big box office difference is not just African Americans flocking to see the film but especially Latino audiences. They attribute this to the casting of Amaury Nolasco, the star of a popular telenovela as well as Fox’s Prison Break who in the movie plays ACWO Jorge “Fig” Figueroa. He was recently included in a USA Today list of the 26 guys to watch. Meanwhile, Transformers has smashed one-day records for Tuesday ($27.8M), Wednesday ($29M), and Thursday ($19.1M) as well as for Independence Day. On Monday night, the pic directed by Michael Bay and supervised by Steven Spielberg took in $8.8M.

FRIDAY AM: Transformers makes $19.1 million Thursday for new record.

THURSDAY AM: Paramount’s official Transformers number for Wednesday is $29.1 mil from 4,011 North American theaters — which means the DreamWorks battle of the bots recorded the best gross ever for a Fourth Of July. It also recorded the biggest Wednesday non-sequel of all time, beating The Passion Of The Christ ($26.5M on Wednesday February 25, 2004). So now its cume is $65.7 for the first 2 1/2 days of release since Monday night. Until now, Spider-Man 2 held the record for the holiday ($21.9 mil on July 4, 2004, or down 35% from the previous day). Transformers‘ receipts actually went up 4.3% from Tuesday to Wednesday, something that never happens on July 4th when outdoor activities usually rule. But rainy weather in the East helped fill seats for the Michael Bay-directed, Steven Spielberg-supervised pic.

WEDNESDAY PM: I hear unofficially DreamWorks’ Transformers made at least $29 million for July 4th from 4,011 North American theaters. That’s a lot of moolah for a movie on this U.S. holiday when families are out and about during the day and watching fireworks at night. Paramount won’t have the official number until Thursday morning, so stay tuned. But adding $29 mil to the $36 mil in 36 hours the pic already took in, and that’s a total $65 mil for this Battle Of The Bots’ first 2 1/2 days of release. And the studio still has another four full days to go through Sunday. It’s clear that Transformers will have no trouble fulfilling Paramount’s lowered expectations of $100 mil, and likely even box office gurus’ projections of $125 mil for the 6 1/2 days.

WEDNESDAY AM: Paramount tells me that DreamWorks’ Transformers outgunned the competition to take in $27.4 million during its first full day of release Tuesday in 4,011 North American theaters. This represents the biggest box office in history for a movie on a Tuesday, beating Pirates Of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest ($27,450,000 to $15,731,919). Combined with Monday night’s $8.8 million from about 3,000 venues, that’s $36.2 mil in the first 36 hours — a hefty mid-week pre-holiday haul for the Michael Bay-directed, Steven Spielberg-supervised battle bot movie. Considering Tuesday was Fourth Of July getaway day for one of the biggest travel weeks of the year, this was very good business indeed. Again, box office experts expect the rock ’em, sock ’em pic to make $125 mil over the 6 1/2 days Monday night through Sunday; the studio, Paramount / Dreamworks has been lowering expectations to just $100 mil. Reviews for the pic have been mixed (59% positive). But, in a rare occurrence, film critics from bigger media outlets liked the movie better than their colleagues. Nostalgia seems to be the big draw here: most of the moviegoers wanting to see Transformers grew up playing with the toys or watching the cartoons or reading the comic books.

TUESDAY NOON: Paramount says its DreamWorks’ Transformers made $8.8 million Monday night from its North American shows starting at 8 p.m. in about 3,050 theaters. I hear today’s matinees were very strong.

TUESDAY AM: I’m told early unofficial indicators show Transformers made between $8 million and $9 million Monday night, a hefty amount considering the DreamWorks / Paramount pic didn’t even start its screenings until 8 p.m. Bizarrely, the studio has not released the official numbers yet, and it’s almost noon on Tuesday. (I just got word there’ll be a studio announcement of the grosses at 1 p.m. Sheesh. Then the studio forgot to include the Canadian grosses. Double sheesh) Fandango, the major movie ticket seller, is reporting that “dozens” of Monday night Transformers shows were sold out. Nostalgia seems to be fueling the pic’s frenzy. In an online survey, several thousand moviegoers told Fandango they were buying tickets to the robot pic because 75% had watched the Transformers cartoons when they were kids, 65% had played with the toys, and 24% had read the comic books. Also, Disney / Pixar’s Ratatouille scored an impressive Monday, making $7.5 mil and $7.7 mil.

MONDAY: Nobody I know is predicting less than $125 mil for the  6 1/2-day period starting 8 p.m. tonight through Sunday for rock em, sock ’em Transformers — except for DreamWorks / Paramount which is lowering expectations to $100 mil. (Note to bloggers picking up my tracking reports: make that $100M to $125M.) Given that the pic has been tracking gigantic for weeks, audiences will eat up this battle of the bots released in a huge number of venues: 4,011 theaters. Granted, Transformers plays like typical Michael Bay macho crap. But Steven Spielberg input his trademark “heart” as well as great special effects. I’m told ILM went overboard to impress because its own George Lucas has teamed up with Spielberg for an Indiana Jones fourquel.

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