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Box Office Breakdown: Transformers Wins Weekend With $60.5 Million Before Three New Movies Slam Into Theaters

You can tell it’s the summer movie season and things are getting somewhat back to normal with different movies winning the box office each weekend, often with more than $50 million.

This Past Weekend

This week’s latest studio tentpole release was Paramount‘s Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, which was tracking behind many of Michael Bay‘s movies that helped launch the franchise, with many predicting it would open with less than $50 million. Although reviews were mixed at best, they were still better than all but Bay’s very first Transformers in 2007 and the Bumblebee spin-off prequel from 2018.

Starring Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback and directed by Steven Caple Jr. (Creed II), the movie brought in $8.8 million from Thursday previews and $25.6 million on Friday, which pointed to a better opening weekend than expected with an estimated $60.5 million in 3,678 theaters, which is less than big summer franchises tend to get. (Paramount somehow negotiated to get IMAX and other premium screens away from the other theatrical releases, which probably helped things.) With an “A-” CinemaScore and 91 percent Audience Sore on Rotten Tomatoes.

Rise of the Beasts brought in $110 million internationally in 68 markets (94 percent of the movie’s overseas rollout), for a global opening weekend of $170 million. China provided the biggest take of $40 million, followed by Mexico with $7.3 million, and IMAX screens accounted for $16 million of the film’s global take with $6.4 million coming from North America, $5.9 million from China, and $3.7 million from the rest of the world.

As of last week, it was thought it might have a close race with Sony‘s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse to win the weekend, but the animated sequel had a traditionally larger-than-normal drop from its opening weekend once Thursday previews were removed. It dropped 54 percent to take second place with $55.4 million to bring its ten-day domestic total to $225.5 million.

Disney‘s The Little Mermaid, starring Halle Bailey, Melissa McCarthy, and Javier Bardem, added another $22.8 million this weekend (down 45 percent), bringing its domestic total to $228.8 million, just slightly ahead of Across the Spider-Verse despite opening a week earlier. With the $29.9 million it made overseas this weekend, The Little Mermaid has passed the $400 million mark globally with a total of $414.2 million.

Fourth and fifth place seems to be quite close between two other Disney releases, James Gunn‘s Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 from Marvel Studios, and the 20th Century Studios‘ horror movie, The Boogeyman. Based on estimates, Guardians is ahead with just over $7 million (down 34 percent) compared to Boogeyman‘s $6.9 million (down 44 percent) to remain in fourth place with $335.4 million. The Boogeyman has grossed $24.7 million so far, while Guardians has benefitted from its international release, adding another $6.7 million overseas to bring its global total to $805.9 million. (As the #2 movie of 2023 so far, Guardians is still well behind Universal‘s The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which has made over $1.3 billion worldwide.)

In an odd decision, Universal released Fast X onto digital platforms on Friday, despite it having been in theaters for less than a month. Even though it’s now in less than 3,000 theaters in its fourth weekend – terrible for one of the studio’s major franchises – it still made $5.2 million (down 46 percent) this weekend to bring its domestic total to $138.1 million. That’s also pretty terrible considering that two movies that have opened since have already crossed $200 million, but international is another story where

As far as limited releases, A24 expanded Celine Song‘s Past Lives into 26 locations after a solid platform release, and it managed to add another $520,772 this weekend (about $20,000 per location) for a running total of $867,000. It’s a great start for the studio’s planned nationwide expansion on June 23.

Weekend Box Office

Rank Entry Distributor Revenue Theater Count Total Revenue
1 Transformers: Rise of the Beasts Paramount Pictures $60,500,000 3,678 $60,500,000
2 Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Sony Pictures $55,425,000 4,332 $225,446,000
3 The Little Mermaid Walt Disney $22,790,000 4,320 $228,810,339
4 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 Walt Disney $7,028,000 3,175 $335,400,769
5 The Boogeyman 20th Century Studios $6,917,000 3,205 $24,737,895
6 Fast X Universal $5,200,000 2,822 $138,127,000
7 The Super Mario Bros. Movie Universal $2,120,000 1,789 $570,163,000
8 About My Father Lionsgate $845,000 960 $10,761,809
9 The Machine Sony Pictures $575,000 1,008 $10,096,000
10 Past Lives A24 $520,772 26 $867,096


Last Year

A scene from Jurassic World: Dominion / Universal Pictures

This weekend saw the release of Jurassic World: Dominion, the finale of Colin Trevorrow‘s sequel trilogy to Steven Spielberg‘s Jurassic Park, which got delayed due to COVID, but was finally released by Universal into 4,676 theaters, where it opened with $145.1 million or $31,026 per theater. Oddly, that was only the 30th biggest domestic opening for a movie, although it was also the second-biggest opening weekend since the start of the pandemic after Sony’s Spider-Man: No Way Home in 2021.

Tom Cruise‘s Top Gun: Maverick was knocked down to second place with $51.9 million, down just 42% but a huge coup for a movie in its third weekend going up against an unstoppable juggernaut like Jurassic World. By that point, it had grossed $395.2 million domestically and was catching up to Marvel StudiosDoctor Strange into the Multiverse of Madness, which took third place with $5.2 million – pretty big gap between second and third place, huh? – as it neared $400 million with $398.1 million.

Upcoming 

While this isn’t the first weekend of the summer with more than two wide releases – remember Memorial Day weekend just a few weeks back? – it is one with two potentially wider releases that may cannibalize some business from each other

(L-R) Ezra Miller, Michael Keaton, Ezra Miller in The Flash / Warner Bros.

Opening the widest in 4,100 theaters is Warner Bros and DC Entertainment‘s The Flash, starring Ezra Miller as the Scarlet Speedster first introduced into theaters via Zack Snyder‘s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016. This might be coming out at a strange time, since DC is going through a transition with Guardians of the Galaxy helmer James Gunn taking over the reins with producer Peter Safran, with two more DC movies still to be released this year: Blue Beetle in August and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom in December.

Setting aside the criminal allegations against Miller that have arisen in recent years, let’s look at the positives for The Flash, the biggest one possibly being the return of Michael Keaton as Batman for the first time since Tim Burton‘s Batman Returns in 1992. That’s over 30 years since one of the more popular movie Batmans, one that continues to find new fans over the years. The movie also introduces Sasha Calle as a new version of Supergirl with It director Andy Muschietti handling the direction of a movie that’s been waylaid by a number of delays over the years, as it found and then lost directors.

The DCEU has been all over the place since Snyder left in the middle of 2017’s Justice League for Joss Whedon to take over (to quite disastrous results), and that movie opened with $93.8 million before making $229 million domestic. That was compared to the near-$300 million domestic gross of Snyder’s 2013 Superman movie, Man of Steel, and the next three movies in the DCEU, which all surpassed $300 million with Patty JenkinsWonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot, grossing more than $400 million after a $103.2 million opening weekend.

We can’t completely overlook the criminal activity by Miller (who hasn’t been prosecuted or tried for anything yet), but the time Robert Downey Jr. spent in jail had absolutely zero effect on the opening of 2008’s Iron Man, which successfully launched the MCU. We also can’t overlook that the last straight-up Batman movie, Matt ReevesThe Batman, starring Robert Pattinson, opened with over $134 million and made $369 million domestically, not to mention the success of Christopher Nolan‘s three Batman movies, starring Christian Bale.

The fact is that moviegoers just love themselves some Batman, and many of the older fans will likely overlook the Ezra Miller in the room to go see The Flash. Fully expect it to open with more than $100 million, and then we’ll have to see if audiences like the movie more than the critics (who have given it a respectable 71 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) to give the movie anything resembling legs.

A scene from Elemental / Disney-Pixar Animation

Also this weekend, Pixar Animation releases its 26th animated movie, Elemental, directed by Peter Sohn (The Good Dinosaur). It’s only the animation house’s second movie getting a regular theatrical release through Disney, following three movies that got thrown onto the streamer Disney+ due to the pandemic.

Pixar’s history at the box office in recent years has not been great, but mainly because most of the studio’s output has been dumped to streaming, as mentioned. The last full theatrical release was 2022’s Lightyear, a prequel spin-off to the hugely successful Toy Story franchise that launched Pixar. That opened with $50.6 million, but only made $118 million domestic and another $100 million overseas. That’s not a good sign for a movie tied into such a popular series with name stars like Chris Pine and others.

The biggest name among the voice cast for Elemental is Emmy winner, Catherine O’Hara, which also doesn’t show much confidence from the studio that they didn’t get bigger names to provide voices. It doesn’t help that the last theatrically-released non-sequel, non-spinoff was 2020’s Onward (voiced by no less than Chris Pratt and Tom Holland!), which had its run cut short by theaters closing. Before that was 2017’s Coco, which opened with $50.8 million and grossed $210.5 million over the holidays that year. Sohn’s own The Good Dinosaur opened two years earlier with just $39 million (same as Onward) but only made $123 million domestic.

Things just don’t seem to be adding up for Elemental with a high-concept premise that isn’t great, and mixed-positive reviews so far. That 71 percent on Rotten Tomatoes is the lowest showing for Pixar since 2017’s Cars 3, and yes, it’s worse than The Good Dinosaur. Because of these factors, it seems like Elemental might be heading to an opening in the high-$30 million to low-$40 million for second place.

A scene from The Blackening / Lionsgate (photo by Glen Wilson)

The third wide release this weekend is Tim Story‘s horror-comedy, The Blackening, getting a slightly more moderate release into 1,800+ theaters by Lionsgate. It’s a comedy geared towards African-American audiences, who have helped the likes of Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween and the various movies by the Wayans Family (the pinnacle being the first couple of Scary Movies in the early ‘00s) into enormous hits.

Recently, Deon Taylor‘s Fear, a more straight-ahead horror film sans comedy, opened with just $1.2 million in 974 theaters, but that was also released independently without the marketing pull of Lionsgate, who even got the movie a high-profile New York City premiere at the Apollo Theater as part of the Tribeca Film Festival.

White people may need to be reminded that Monday, June 19th, is the national government holiday celebrating Juneteenth (the end of slavery in America), which could benefit The Blackening in a similar way as the MLK Jr. weekend has helped other Black comedies, including the two Ride Along movies, starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, which Story also directed.

The Blackening should be good for an opening in the $12 to 15 million range, as it’s offering something quite different from the other options. (Look for my interview with Story sometime this week.)


Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas

Edward Douglas has been writing about the box office for 21 years at places like ComingSoon.netThe Tracking Board, and many others, but mostly under the banner of “The Weekend Warrior.” He’s also a film critic with bylines at Film JournalThe New York Daily NewsDen of Geek, and more.

Box Office Breakdown will be posted each week by Monday morning. You can read other features by Edward Douglas over at Below the Line and Above the Line.

Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas has written about movies for print and the internet for over 20 years, specializing in box office analysis, reviews, and interviews. Currently, he writes features for Below the Line and Above the Line, acting as Associate Editor for the former and Interim Editor for the latter.
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