'Transformers' turns into box office behemoth with $100 million opening
By Ronald Grover and Chris Michaud
LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - "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 U.S. and Canadian theaters.
"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 percent 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. Continued...