Paramount’s TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTS in its opening weekend jousted with Sony’s SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE in its second week, with the bots coming out on top with a gross of $60.5M. This is the seventh feature film starring characters from Hasbro’s famous toy franchise. The first TRANSFORMERS movie premiered on July 3, 2007, and earned $70.5M in its opening three days, going on to earn $319.2M domestically and $709.7M worldwide.
All seven movies to date have earned $1.6B domestically and $4.8B worldwide, an amazing three times the domestic total. This chart lists the box office results for TRANSFORMERS movies throughout their 16-year run.
TRANSFORMERS began as a Michael Bay-directed actioner starring Shia LaBeouf and continued in that same vein over the first three films, reaching its most profitable point in 2011 with TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON which earned an impressive $1.123B worldwide. Then came a change in the lead to Mark Wahlberg for the next two chapters, which coincided with a decline in the box office.
At first, it saw a modest drop of 1.5% ($1.104B worldwide) for AGE OF EXTINCTION in 2014, and then, a much more significant downturn of 46% ($605M worldwide) for THE LAST KNIGHT in 2017. A course correction was attempted to explore a prequel with BUMBLEBEE which opened on 12/21/18, directed by Travis Knight and starring Hailee Steinfeld. The new direction wound up producing a franchise-low box office of $468M worldwide, but this was still quite profitable because its studio backers had cut its production budget in half.
After a five-year hiatus, the current RISE OF THE BEASTS is a 90’s globetrotting adventure that introduces Maximals, Predacons, and Terrorcons to the existing battle on Earth between Autobots and Decepticons. Critics have always looked down on series, and continue to do so for RISE OF THE BEASTS with a sour 56% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Moviegoers are responding better, giving it a solid 88% audience score.
Respecting the track record for the franchise, all other studios took the week off from opening other new wide releases, allowing RISE OF THE BEASTS to rake in as much as possible in its opening weekend. However, it may well be that the upcoming weeks of the early summer will not be kind to TRANSFORMERS, with stiff competition arriving next weekend with the much-anticipated opening of THE FLASH, which appeals to a similar demographic.
With a production budget of $200M, it may struggle to earn enough at the box office to turn a profit. If it can, it’s likely that much of this box office will come from the international markets where the series has excelled over the years. In a nod to the recent success of animated versions of SPIDER-MAN and MARIO, Paramount has also announced TRANSFORMERS ONE, the first animated feature from this franchise, scheduled to hit theatres in 15 months on 9/13/24.
Sony’s SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE finished in a close second place by earning $55.4M in its second weekend, a drop of only 54% from last weekend’s record-breaking debut. This picture has delivered a best-case performance for Sony, already earning a ten-day total of $225.4M domestically which exceeds the $191.6M total domestic run in 2018/2019 for the previous animated SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE.
As was the case with THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE, we will need to wait another week or two before we can project the final tally for ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE. The next animated movie coming to theatres is still three weeks away, when Universal’s RUBY GILLMAN, TEENAGE KRAKEN will open on 6/30.
That film is only expected to earn $25M-$30M for its total run. After that, it will be clear sailing until 9/29 when PAW PATROL: THE MIGHTY MOVIE opens. Given the early positive response for ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE and the relative lack of competition, there is a chance that it will still be playing in a sizable number of theatres from now through Labor Day.
Disney’s THE LITTLE MERMAID came in third place on its third weekend with a gross of $22.8M, a relatively small decline of 45% from last weekend’s total. This solid hold should be encouraging for Disney, especially because it is competing with ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE, which also enjoyed a solid hold in its second week after an impressive opening weekend. Both films are PG-rated and are competing for a similar family audience.
The marketplace has been extremely accommodating in its support for two high-grossing titles at the same time. After 17 days, MERMAID’s comparison with Disney’s 2019 live-action ALADDIN continues to be favorable. It has already grossed $228.8M domestically or 98% of the total ALADDIN earned at this same point in its release.
Going forward, MERMAID will continue to face the difficulty of competing head-to-head against ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE, which will outperform MERMAID for the remainder of its run. In addition, MERMAID has not done nearly as well in international markets, particularly in China where it has been a verifiable bomb with only $3.8M. This is almost nothing compared with the $48M that ALADDIN had earned in China after 17 days.
Marvel’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 continued its successful run by adding another $7.0M in its sixth weekend, a drop of only 34%. VOL. 3 has earned $335.4M domestically and $789.1M worldwide. After spending $250M on production, each new week of ticket sales only adds to the movie’s profitability. VOL. 3 should continue to play 1000+ locations for the next few weeks, even though it will most likely drop out of the top five beginning next weekend.
Stephen King’s THE BOOGEYMAN from Twentieth Century Studios finished in fifth place with $6.9M in its second weekend, a drop of 44% compared with last weekend’s opening. This scary story has not caught on with King’s fans nor with horror audiences in general. Next week Lionsgate will open THE BLACKENING, a horror/comedy that will snuff out most of the remaining box office for THE BOOGEYMAN. We project a total worldwide run for this title of $55M.
Last weekend, we highlighted an encouraging debut for A24’s Asian-American, romantic feature PAST LIVES, which opened at four theatres in New York and Los Angeles. This weekend, the film expanded to play at 26 locations, including theatres in San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago, Toronto, Boston, and Austin.
It continues to do well with a gross of $520K, making for a commendable per-theatre average of $20K. Despite facing competition from the additional theatres in NY and LA, the original four sites also held well by selling nearly 50% of the tickets they sold in last weekend’s debut. The next round of expansion for this film will be critical to its box office success. All movies in theatres this weekend earned $163.7M domestic, compared with $216.3M last year when JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION enjoyed an opening weekend of $145.1M and TOP GUN: MAVERICK earned $51.9M in its third weekend.
WHERE ARE WE AS OF 6/9
The first 22 weeks of 2023 have generated 128% of the box office earned in 2022 by this same point, but only 79% compared with 2019.