"Transformers" nears $400 million at global box office

Mon Jul 4, 2011 2:04pm EDT
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Big-budget, effects-filled Hollywood flick "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" smashed its way through box office records by Monday, its sixth full day in theaters, with global ticket sales nearing $400 million.

Paramount Pictures, which released the movie about shape-shifting aliens battling for control of Earth, said the movie was its highest-grossing international debut ever, ringing overseas cash registers to the tune of $217 million through Sunday and beating the release of "Transformers 2."

The movie opened simultaneously in 58 overseas markets last Wednesday, along with its U.S. and Canadian debut. Global ticket sales, excluding Monday's international box office estimates which have not yet been forecast, stand at $398 million.

In U.S. and Canadian theaters, where "Transformers" debuted in late-night previews on Tuesday last week, the movie will have taken in $181 million by the time the U.S. Independence Day holiday ends on Monday night, according to Paramount's estimates.

Industry watchers said the movie's four-day (Friday through Monday) domestic box office forecast of $116.4 million is the best ever for an Independence Day weekend, which is one of the heaviest moviegoing periods of the year. It eclipsed the $115.8 million debut of "Spider-Man 2" over the same weekend in 2006.

On Monday, Paramount revised its Sunday estimates slightly to $97.5 million for the three-day weekend -- Friday through Sunday -- from a previous $97.4 million.

"Transformers" earned a whopping $24,300 per-theater average from around 4,000 theaters over the three days. By contrast, the No. 2 domestic movie, Disney/Pixar's animated "Cars 2" earned $26.2 million over the three days ($32.1 million for the four days ending Monday) from just under 4,100 theaters. Its per-theater average was about $6,400.

About 60 percent of "Transformers'" domestic revenues came from theaters showing it in more expensive 3D, and about 70 percent of the international box office tally came from 3D, which should help bolster the format that in recent months has seemed to fade in popularity.   Continued...

<p>Cast member Rosie Huntington-Whiteley arrives for the premiere of "Transformers: Dark of The Moon" in Times Square in New York June 28, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>