"Transformers" tops global box office

Sun Jun 28, 2009 3:28pm EDT
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The new "Transformers" sequel trampled all over the worldwide box office at the weekend, quickly racking up sales of $387 million with Britain and China leading the international charge.

"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" already ranks as the third-biggest movie of the year in North America, after earning $201.2 million since it blasted into theaters on Wednesday, distributor Paramount Pictures said on Sunday.

The haul handily beat industry expectations, and falls just short of the five-day opening record of $203.8 million set last year by "The Dark Knight," the second-biggest film of all time in North America before adjusting for inflation.

The overseas contribution stands at $186.1 million. The film opened in 58 markets on Wednesday after getting an early start last weekend in Britain and Japan. The British total stands at $27 million. Paramount did not have the Japan total.

The biggest of the new markets was China, which chipped in $21.9 million, a record for an English-language film, the Viacom Inc-owned studio said. Other notable openings included South Korea ($14.9 million), Australia ($13 million) and Russia ($11.8 million). In those markets, the film surpassed its 2007 predecessor in local currency terms, Paramount said.

The first "Transformers" earned $708 million worldwide in 2007, the fifth-biggest film of the year. It ranked at No. 3 in North America with sales of $319 million. The new film should pass that tally next week, with business boosted by the July 4 Independence Day holiday in the United States.

Both films were directed by Michael Bay, and feature young stars Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox. The storylines were similar: robots rampage across the landscape, and things explode. The sequel reportedly cost about $200 million to make.

'THREE STRONG WEEKS'

Earlier in the week, Paramount had conservatively forecast a five-day North American haul in the $130 million to $150 million range. But industry pundits said a tally of at least $175 million was more likely. The biggest movies of the year so far are "Up" with $250 million and "Star Trek" with $246 million.   Continued...

 
<p>Actors (from L) Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Megan Fox, film director and executive producer Michael Bay and Shia Labeouf pose for a picture as they arrive for the Russian premiere of "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" in Moscow June 16, 2009. REUTERS/Mikhail Voskresensky</p>