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Holiday Weekend Box Office: Transformers Explodes to Record Opening; Other Newcomers Are Duds

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By Chris Kavan - 07/05/11 at 12:40 PM CT

It looks like Michael Bay and Shia LaBeouf can bid the Transformers series a fond farewell after the debut of Transformers: Dark of the Moon set an Independence Day weekend record.

With its first-place $97.5 million haul, Transformers: Dark of the Moon became the top-grossing Independence Day film of all time, beating the $88.2 million opening of Spider-Man 2. It also easily topped On Stranger TIdes to become the biggest opening of 2011 (so far). It was also good news for fans of 3D as Dark of the Moon was running at about 60% gross after most other films of 2011 sat at around 40%. As it stands, the six-day total for Dark of the Moon is at $181.1 million (good for 9th place, but Revenge of the Fallen had $214 million in the same period). Worldwide, it topped $400 million.

All in all, though it was running behind Revenge of the Fallen, and scoring only slightly better reviews, it was a win for Bay and crew as it will most likely be the first film to cross $300 million this year. With the numbers continuing to be that strong, I would think Paramount Pictures would be happy finding another director and star to continue the franchise.

While Transformers looked good over the weekend, the news wasn't as rosy for many other film. Cars 2 suffered the biggest drop for a Pixar movie in its second week by sliding 60%, with a second-place $32.1 million total. While the $123 million was still ahead of the original cars $121 million in the same time period, attendance was lagging. The 3D totals dropped down to 35%, as Transformers stole its thunder.

Bad Teacher fell 54%, but it looks like Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake are bigger draws than Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, as the 3rd-place $17.6 million was enough to beat newcomer Larry Crowne in the box office race. At $63 million, it should come close to $100 million by the time its run is over.

With some heavy-hitting star power, Larry Crowne was a bust. At just $15.7 million, it was a dismal opening for Hanks and Roberts. The audience was comprised of mostly females, and mostly over 35 - a target audience not known for bringing in big numbers.

Rounding out the top five, Super 8 made $9.6 million and now stands at just over $110 million. Super 8 managed to beat out newcomer Monte Carlo and the high-profile Green Lantern for the weekend.

Monte Carlo did draw a younger female audience (80%) and it did track younger (60% under 25) but the $8.8 million total was even less than Ramona and Beezus .

Falling like a lead-lined green meteor, Green Lantern took a 64% hit - the biggest drop of the week - to land in 7th place with $6.5 million and just a $102 million total. In perspective, Dark of the Moon made nearly as much in just three days as what Green Lantern has in three weeks.

Ending on some good news, Bridesmaids hit two important marks - It officially became the top-grossing film of Judd Apatow (beating Knocked Up) and the highest-grossing R-rated female comedy of all time (beating Sex and the City). It now stands at $153 million and represents a bright spot for the summer.

Rounding out the top ten, Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris dropped just 14.5% to land in 10th with $3.6 million and a $33.8 million total.

Next week I have a feeling Transformers will repeat its run, as the two new films opening, Horrible Bosses and Zookeeper are both comedies in different veins but with a specific target audience rather than the action spectacle of Transformers.

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