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Sunday, June 28, 2009

'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen' rakes in record $387m worldwide in debut, June 26-28, 2009

Michael Bay is laughing all the way to the bank this fourth of July weekend. After taking a certified beating from critics, who gave the film a "rotten" 21% score from Rottentomatoes.com, the glitzy action auteur proved that bigger is sometimes much better. He spent more money ($200 million budget compared to $150m for its predecessor), pushed for bigger effects, and brought the running time to a head-scratching two-and-a-half hours, all to satisfy the pent up demand by audiences for a certified box office blockbuster. The result was Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which took in a staggering $201.2 million over its five-day opening and $387 million worldwide, giving the sequel the largest global opening haul in history.

After pulling in $89.2 million over the Wednesday-Thursday time frame, including a record crushing $60.2 million on Wednesday alone, the Paramount/DreamWorks release amassed an incredible $112 million over the weekend, bringing its five-day total to $201.2 million. Only last summer's The Dark Knight grossed more over its first five days, bringing in $203.8 million last July. By comparison, the original Transformers bowed with $70.5 million over the July 4th weekend in 2007, pulling in $155.4 million over its first 6 days of release (it debuted on a Tuesday).

Averaging a massive $26,453 in 4,234 theaters over the weekend (including 169 IMAX screens), the Michael Bay actioner shattered the June opening weekend record set by 2004's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with $93.7 million. It also broke the five-day record for a Wednesday opener, easily surpassing the $152.4 million haul by 2004's Spider-Man 2.

Starting on Wednesday with a record-shattering $60.6 million, the opening day haul was the second largest in history behind The Dark Knight's Friday take of $67.2 million, as well as the largest by far for a Wednesday bow. That now-annihilated record belonged to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which debuted on Wednesday with $44.2 million in 2007.

Internationally Transformers whipped up a frenzy as well, though not to the dizzying heights of its North American release. The pic took in $186 million since the beginning of the week, putting its worldwide take at $387 million. That makes Revenge of the Fallen already the second highest grossing film globally for 2009, behind only Angels & Demons with $467.7 million.

With sizable competition ahead in the form of Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs coming July 4th and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince arriving 11 days later, Transformers will likely see a heavy sophomore drop. But with an opening five-days like that, the film could still coast to $350 million domestic without even trying.

Sandra Bullock's hit romantic comedy The Proposal continued to fare well in its sophomore frame, falling 45% to $18.5 million, bringing its ten-day cume to $69.1 million. Released by Buena Vista and co-starring Ryan Reynolds, the $40 million budgeted pic looks headed towards $120 million domestic.

The comedy blockbuster The Hangover continued its phenomenal run at the box office, falling another slight 36% to $17.2 million. In four weeks the film has now amassed $183.2 million, and seems like a shoe-in for $250+ million domestic.

Disney-Pixar's computer-animated comedy Up is now officially the highest grossing film of 2009, surpassing Star Trek in its fifth week of release. Falling 45% to $13 million, the film managed a decent drop despite the overwhelming presence of Transformers 2. In five weeks the film has grossed a lofty $250.3 million, and should be able to replace No. 2 on the all-time Pixar by next weekend. Already ranked as the fourth highest grossing film in studio history, the $175 million budgeted pic is poised to surpass the $255.8m of Monsters, Inc. (No. 3), and the $261.4m haul of The Incredibles (No. 2). The film is still just barely behind the pace of 2003's Finding Nemo which grossed $339.7 million domestic, but with Ice Age 3 on the near-term horizon, and Harry Potter VI not far behind that, it appears unlikely Up would unseat Nemo at the top of the list. Still, given the fantastic word of mouth this summer, look for Up to just barely cross $300 million domestic.

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