"Transformers" aims to recharge U.S. box offices
By Edwin Chan
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Big-budget "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" hits U.S. movie theaters on Wednesday, aiming to recharge box offices in a summer season that has lost momentum after 2009's strong start.
Early reviews are mixed for director Michael Bay's effects-filled story of an alien vs. robot war on Earth that follows 2007 smash hit "Transformers," which raked in more than $700 million worldwide for its backers at DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures, a unit of media giant Viacom Inc.
But movies like "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" are widely considered to be immune from negative criticism in their first weekend at box offices because, generally speaking, their core audience of mostly young men rarely read reviews.
In fact on Monday, movie ticket site Fandango.com reported that hundreds of midnight showings ahead of Wednesday's debut already are sold out, and advance sales on Fandango are double what they were at this same time ahead of "Transformers."
That is good news for Hollywood and for DreamWorks and Paramount. The movie cost $195 million to make, Bay told reporters at a news conference last week.
"Year-to-date box office is great, but summer-to-date we're actually down in attendance ... I don't think there is anything wrong with movies, it's a typical summer season, but the first quarter was so strong," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com Box Office.
Hollywood's summer films, which can make up as much as 40 percent of overall annual box office tallies in the United States and Canada, started the first weekend of May with the launch of "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." Continued...