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MARTIN GROVE'S HOLLYWOOD REPORT -- "TRANSFORMERS" TALK -- 6/26/17


 
TRANSFORMERS-THE LAST KNIGHT - LAURA HADDOCK WITH FANS AT LONDON PREMIERE

TRANSFORMERS-THE LAST KNIGHT - LAURA HADDOCK WITH FANS AT LONDON PREMIERE

TRANSFORMERS-THE LAST KNIGHT - LAURA HADDOCK AT LONDON PREMIERE

TRANSFORMERS-THE LAST KNIGHT - LAURA HADDOCK AT LONDON PREMIERE

TRANSFORMERS-THE LAST NIGHT - ISABELLA MONER AT LONDON PREMIERE

TRANSFORMERS-THE LAST NIGHT - ISABELLA MONER AT LONDON PREMIERE

MARTIN GROVE'S HOLLYWOOD REPORT --

"TRANSFORMERS" TALK -- 6/26/17

 

"Transformers" talk: Hollywood needs a summer boxoffice transformation, but it didn't get it from last weekend's opening of Paramount and Hasbro's "Transformers: The Last Knight."

         The PG-13 rated IMAX-3D sci-fi action adventure finished first with $45.3 million at 4,069 theatres. Its five day domestic cume of $69.1 million includes about $5.5 million from Tuesday night previews at 546 theatres.

         This was in line with the five day opening of about $70 million that Hollywood handicappers were originally anticipating. Late last week, some bloggers were speculating about an even worse opening in the mid-$60 millions. Nonetheless, this is the lowest opening of the five "Transformers" episodes to date (see detailed comparisons below). The film's production budget reportedly was $217 million.

         Directed by Michael Bay ("Transformers" franchise), "TTLK" stars Mark Wahlberg, Josh Duhamel and Stanley Tucci.

         "TTLK" did, however, get off to a much stronger international start last weekend. comScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian said Sunday morning that it "opened at #1 internationally this weekend grossing $196.2 million from 41 markets for a combined global tally with North America of $265,295,000."

         IMAX played a key role in "TTLK," which "was filmed by Bay with IMAX 3D cameras." IMAX film distribution vice president Brett Fellman said Sunday that "TTLK" earned "$24.3 million on 1,042 (IMAX) screens worldwide. This is the all-time second biggest global IMAX opening for Paramount, only behind 'Transformers: Age of Extinction's' $26.7 million.

         "Internationally (it) was the biggest IMAX opening for the 'Transformers' franchise, earning a stellar $16.7 million on 652 IMAX screens in 51 territories. The film was the all-time fifth biggest IMAX international opening, behind 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' ($17.5 million) and matching 'Transformers: Age Of Extinction' ($16.7 million). 18 IMAX territories have yet to open, including Japan, India, Mexico and Brazil.

         "In China, (it) had a massive opening with $11.7 million from 414 IMAX screens making it the second biggest IMAX China Friday-Saturday-Sunday of all time, behind 'Fate of the Furious's' $13.3 million and ahead of 'Age of Extinction's' $9.7 million.

         "In North America, the film earned $7.6 million from 390 IMAX screens for the 5-day (period). 16 of the Top 20 domestic runs were IMAX locations."

         Overall, China was a particularly strong territory for "TTLK," with opening weekend grosses there of $123.4 million. Hollywood's basic distribution agreement with China returns only 25 percent of a film's China gross to its U.S. distributor.

         The franchise's last episode, "Transformers: Age of Extinction," opened June 27, 2014 to $100 million. It did $245.4 million domestically and $858.6 million internationally.

         "TTLK" is the fifth episode in the franchise that's grossed $1.3 billion domestically since 2007. All five of these were directed by Michael Bay, but two future untitled episodes reportedly aren't going to be helmed by Bay, making a series reboot possible. These new episodes are scheduled to open June 8, 2018 and June 28, 2019.

         The film's 15 percent rotten score on Rotten Tomatoes didn't help it any. It's the latest film this summer to suffer from moviegoers being turned off by soft aggregate critics scores. And "TTLK" may also have suffered from having an opening storyline involving King Arthur. Moviegoers turned their backs on "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword," a youthful take on the legendary English king, when it opened in early May with a rotten 28 percent score on RT's Tomatometer.

         "TTLK" is part of the franchise fatigue pack that's in the spotlight this summer. Other aging franchises that have underperformed to one extent or another include (with their RT scores and domestic cumes through last weekend): "The Mummy" (15 percent/$68.5 million), "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" (29 percent/$160 million), "Alien: Covenant" (71 percent Certified Fresh/$73.3 million), "Cars 3" (66 percent fresh/$99.9 million) and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul" (20 percent/$20.3 million).

          It's also been a tough summer for original films with familiar pop culture roots like "Baywatch" (19 percent/$56.6 million)," inspired by the 1990's hit TV series, and "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword" (28 percent/$38.6 million).

         Three more high profile franchises that have been around for many years are on the horizon now and may or may not wind up in the "aging" category. All three made the list earlier this summer of Most Anticipated 2027 Summer Blockbusters compiled by the movie ticket sales/digital network Fandango.

         Unfortunately, so did "Pirates," "Transformers," "Mummy" and "Cars 3." But, who knows, the new trio could be luckier. And Fandango's research was definitely right about "Wonder Woman" being the summer's single most anticipated blockbuster (to date). "WW" has a 92 percent Certified Fresh RT score and a domestic cume of $320.4 million through last weekend.

         The newest of the three upcoming series is Universal and Illumination Entertainment's PG rated 3D action adventure "Despicable Me 3," opening June 30. It's the third episode in a franchise that got started in 2010 and also includes the 2015 hit spinoff "Minions." The first two "DM" titles and "Minions" have done $955.6 million domestically.

         Directed by Kyle Balda ("Minions") & Pierre Coffin ("Despicable Me 2," "Minions"), "DM3" stars such voices as: Kristen Wiig, Jenny Slate and Steve Carell. Its RT score is already 85 percent fresh.

         The 3D sci-fi action adventure "Spider-Man: Homecoming," from Columbia, Marvel Studios and Pascal Pictures, opens July 7. It's the sixth episode and second reboot of the modern day Spidey franchise that goes back to 2002. The series' first five titles did $1.6 billion domestically.

         Directed by Jon Watts ("Cop Car") it stars Chris Evans (as Captain America), Tom Holland (as Peter Parker and Spider-Man), Marisa Tomei (as Aunt May) and Robert Downey Jr. (as Tony Stark and Iron Man).

         The oldest of the three in-the-wings franchises is the PG-13 rated 3D sci-fi action adventure "War for the Planet of the Apes," from 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment, opening July 14. It's the ninth episode in the franchise that got underway in 1968 and has grossed $647.1 million domestically. And it's the third episode since the franchise was rebooted in 2011 with "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."

         Directed by Matt Reeves ("Dawn of the Planet of the Apes"), it stars Andy Serkis (as the ape leader Caesar), Judy Greer and Woody Harrelson.

         If these franchises don't trigger moviegoer fatigue the way the  summer's earlier series have, that could help spark a boxoffice recovery.

         There also are high hopes for two upcoming high profile originals that could also fuel a summer turnaround. Both of these titles also made Fandango's list of most anticipated summer hits.

         The PG-13 rated IMAX World War II action drama "Dunkirk," from Warner Bros., StudioCanal and RatPac-Dune Entertainment, opens July 21.

         Directed by Christopher Nolan ("Batman" trilogy), it stars Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance and Harry Styles.

         The fantasy action adventure "The Dark Tower," from Columbia, Media Rights Capital and Imagine Entertainment, opens Aug. 4.

         Directed by Nikolaj Arcel ("A Royal Affair"), it stars Abbey Lee, Katheryn Winnick, Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba. It's based on a series of eight best selling books (horror, fantasy and western genres) by Stephen King.

         With so many high profile hopefuls still on the way, it's too soon to write off the Summer of '17.

         Meanwhile, to put "TTLK's" launch in perspective, here's a quick look at how the first four "Transformers" franchise episodes performed at the boxoffice:

 

         (1)     TITLE: "Transformers"

                  RELEASE DATE: July 3, 2007

                  RATING: PG-13

                  DIRECTED BY: Michael Bay ("The Island")

                  STARS: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson

                  OPENING WEEKEND (# THEATRES): $70.5 million for three day weekend (4,011) with $155.4 million for the 6 day July Fourth weekend, including previews Mon., July 2 at 3,050 theatres

                  WEEKEND 2 (% DOWN)/CUME: $37 million (-48%)/

$224 million

                  DOMESTIC CUME: $319.2 million

                  INTERNATIONAL CUME: $390.5 million

                  ESTIMATED BUDGET: $150 million

                  NOTES: When it opened "Transformers" set a record for the biggest opening week for a non-sequel with $155.4 million dollars, beating the previous record holder, "Spider-Man" (2002), with $151.6 million dollars.

         "Transformers" was the third top grossing film of 2007, after "Spider-Man 3" ($336.5 million) and "Shrek the Third" ($322.7 million).

 

         (2)     TITLE: "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"

                  RELEASE DATE: June 24, 2009

                  RATING: PG-13

                  DIRECTED BY: Michael Bay ("Bad Boys" I & II)

                  STARS: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson

                  OPENING WEEKEND (# THEATRES): $109 million (4,234) for the three day weekend with $200.1 million for five days

                  WEEKEND 2 (% DOWN)/CUME: $42.3 million (-61%) for the three day July Fourth weekend/$293.4 million

                  DOMESTIC CUME: $402.1 million

                  INTERNATIONAL CUME: $434.2 million

                  ESTIMATED BUDGET: $200 million

                  NOTES: "Fallen" was 2009's second biggest grossing domestic film after "Avatar" with $749.8 million.

                  The film's release in 2009 coincided with the 25th anniversary of the animated 1984 television half-hour series "The Transformers," which ran for four seasons – from Sept. 17, 1984 to Nov. 11, 1987. A fifth season also aired, but was made up of 15 earlier episodes plus five episodes created from the 1986 feature film "Transformers: The Movie."

         The 1986 PG rated animated feature opened via De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (DEG) Aug. 8 in 14th place to $1.8 million at 990 theatres. It reportedly cost just $6 million to make and did $5.8 million domestically.

         Directed by then first time feature director Nelson Shin ("Frog Kingdom"), its voice stars included: Orson Welles, Robert Stack and  Leonard Nimoy.

 

         (3)     TITLE: "Transformers: Dark of the Moon"

                  RELEASE DATE: June 29, 2011

                  RATING: PG-13

                  DIRECTED BY: Michael Bay ("Pearl Harbor")

                  STARS: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson

                  OPENING WEEKEND (# THEATRES): $115.9 million (4,088) for the four day July Fourth weekend with a six day cume of $180.7 million, including previews Tue., June 28 at 2,700 theatres

                  WEEKEND 2 (% DOWN)/CUME: $47.1 million (-52%)/

$261.1 million

                  DOMESTIC CUME: $352.4 million

                  INTERNATIONAL CUME: $771.4 million

                  ESTIMATED BUDGET: $195 million

                  NOTES: 532 cars reportedly were destroyed during production They were all flood damaged vehicles that were provided at no cost by an insurance company.

                  After Megan Fox left "Moon" just before production started, Blake Lively was offered the role of Carly, but couldn't commit because she was starring in the hit TV series "Gossip Girl." Many other actresses reportedly were being talked about, including: Gemma Arterton, Brooklyn Decker, Ashley Greene, Lucy Hale, Amber Heard, Julianne Hogue, Anna Kendrick, Miranda Kerr, Heidi Montag and Bar Refaeli. In the end, the prime role went to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

         "Moon" was the second biggest grossing film of 2011 after "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" with $381 million.

 

         (4)     TITLE: "Transformers: Age of Extinction"

                  RELEASE DATE: June 27, 2014

                  RATING: PG-13

                  DIRECTED BY: Michael Bay ("Armageddon")

                  STARS: Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor

                  OPENING WEEKEND (# THEATRES): $100 million (4,233)

                  WEEKEND 2 (% DOWN)/CUME: $37.1 million (-63%) for the three day July Fourth weekend/$175.4 million

                  DOMESTIC CUME: $245.4 million

                  INTERNATIONAL CUME: $858.6 million

                  ESTIMATED BUDGET: $210 million

                  NOTES: "Extinction" was the seventh top grossing film of 2014, a big drop from where the franchise had been in the past.

         It probably didn't help that at 2 hours 45 minutes, it is the longest running title in the franchise. The original episode ran 2:24. "Fallen" ran 2:30. "Moon" ran 2:34.

                  Michael Bay reportedly didn't intend to direct "Extinction," but decided to stay on board after seeing how wildly popular the "Transformers" attraction was when he visited the Universal Studios theme park.

                  This was the first movie with scenes that were shot with a 3-D IMAX camera. About 60 percent of "Extinction" was filmed this way, which is much more than was originally planned. Bay reportedly liked working with the IMAX camera so much that he made greater use of it and had IMAX build him a second one, as well.

         Bottom line: Last weekend's domestic ticket sales were about $142 million, per comScore, down 24.6 percent vs. $188.4 million a year earlier when "Finding Dory" was number one in its second weekend with $73 million. "Dory" was down just 46 percent and had a domestic cume of $286.3 million.

         The domestic boxoffice to date this year is $5.673 billion, according to comScore, up 7.6 percent vs. $5.275 billion this time last year. The previous week, 2017 was ahead by 2.7 percent and a week earlier it was up 3.2 percent, per comScore.

         Hollywood could get a boost from the arrival this weekend of Universal and Illumination Entertainment's PG rated 3D animated action adventure "Despicable Me 3" at 4,350 theatres.

         "Despicable Me 2" opened July 3, 2013 to $83.5 million and did $368.1 million domestically and $602.7 million internationally.

         Also opening this weekend is Warner Bros., New Line Cinema and Village Roadshow Pictures' R rated comedy "The House" at 3,000 theatres. Sony Pictures Entertainment and Media Rights Capital and Working Title Films' R rated action crime film "Baby Driver" opens Wed. (6/28) at 3,100 theatres.