September 27, 2023

‘Transformers’ beats ‘Spider-Verse’ with $60 million debut after heated box office battle

Spider-Man fought well, but the Autobots came out on top.

After an unusually close box office battle, Paramount’s “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” went ahead of “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” debuting in first place for $60.5 million in 3,678 theaters. Sony’s animated “Spider-Verse” sequel still managed a stellar second weekend, taking second place with $55.4 million from 4,332 theaters.

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Thanks to better-than-expected turnout for those movies, box office returns for the first few weeks of summer (May 1 to June 11) are up 5% from 2022, according to Comscore. Analysts hope the popcorn season can continue strong as blockbuster hopefuls like “The Flash” and Pixar’s “Elemental” are joining the fray in the coming days.

Initial ticket sales for “Rise of the Beasts,” the seventh installment in the live-action “Transformers” franchise, significantly outperformed the previous two entries, 2018’s “Bumblebee” ($21.6 million) and “The Last Knight’ from 2017. ($44.68 million). It’s an encouraging sign that Paramount’s 16-year-old action series isn’t quite up to speed yet. That was a concern as the more recent chapters delivered diminishing returns after a softer start. Reviews for “Rise of the Beasts” were mixed, but audiences embraced the film with an “A-” CinemaScore.

“The jump above the previous film’s opening is outstanding,” said David A. Gross, who heads the film consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “Episodes six and seven are where action series either find new creative energy and extend their run (‘Mission: Impossible’, ‘Fast & Furious’, ‘Planet of the Apes’) or begin to wind down (‘Terminator’, ‘ predator’). ). Only James Bond lives forever.”

But the tentpole, directed by Steven Caple Jr. and starring Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback, cost $200 million. It needs to catch on at the international box office to justify that hefty price tag. Past ‘Transformers’ films have earned as much as 70% of total box office revenues outside the US and Canada. Overseas, “Rise of the Beasts” soared to $110 million from 68 markets, bringing its worldwide total to $170.5 million.

Even at second place, there’s still plenty to celebrate for “Spider-Verse,” which is already a huge box office winner with $226 million domestically and $390 million worldwide after 10 days in theaters. Over the weekend, the superhero follow-up surpassed the full domestic and worldwide numbers of its predecessor, 2018’s Oscar-winning “Into the Spider-Verse,” which ended its box office run with $190 million in North America and $384 million worldwide. It now stands as Sony’s highest-grossing animated release in history.

Elsewhere at the box office, three Disney remains rounded out the top of the North American charts. Ranked third, “The Little Mermaid” added $22.8 million from 4,320 theaters, a 46% drop from the previous weekend. After three weeks of release, the live-action remake is swimming along with $228 million at the domestic box office. But the big-budget movie has struggled at the international box office, where ticket sales floundered by $185 million. (Yes, that’s considered “floating” for a $250 million movie.) At one point, there was hope that “The Little Mermaid” would approach the $1 billion mark; after a disappointing turnout abroad, will be lucky enough to hit $500 million.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” took the No. 4 spot with $7 million from 3,175 locations in its sixth weekend on the big screen. To date, the comic book adventure has grossed $335 million in North America and $805 million worldwide, which is more than 2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” original ($333 million domestically, $773 million worldwide), but below the 2017 sequel ($389 million domestically, $863 million worldwide).

Ranked fifth, “The Boogeyman” added $6.9 million from 3,205 theaters, a 46% drop from its debut. The film, an adaptation of Stephen King’s short story of the same name, has grossed $24.7 million domestically and $39.6 million worldwide to date.

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