Weekend Report: ‘Revenge of the Fallen' Rises with Optimal Debut
by Brandon Gray
Optimus Prime in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
June 29, 2009
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen sent shock waves with the first mega-blockbuster launch of the year, rocketing to $109 million over the weekend. With such a massive movie debuting, overall weekend business surged past $200 million, which was up eight percent from the same weekend last year and was a new high for a June weekend.
Ravaging approximately 10,000 screens at 4,234 sites, Revenge of the Fallen logged the biggest June opening weekend ever as well as the highest-grossing non-holiday, non-Friday opening weekend, and it ranked seventh overall. With $200.1 million* since its Wednesday debut, the picture scored the second-largest five-day start of all time behind The Dark Knight's $203.8 million. The first Transformers' opening weekend came in at $70.5 million, and it didn't cross $200 million until its 12th day. What's more, Revenge of the Fallen had the second biggest IMAX weekend ever: included in its grosses was $8 million at 169 IMAX locations (for $11.7 million in five days), ranking behind Star Trek's $8.5 million at 138 venues.
The prime reason for Revenge of the Fallen's success was its predecessor, as was the case with Pirates of the Caribbean and other major franchises. Regardless of its actual quality, the first Transformers was a crowd pleaser, drawing $319.2 million by the end of its run. It built on the 1980s toy and cartoon brand with the human entry point of a kid and his first car and with the spectacle and adventure of an alien invasion and disaster event movie. The good will equity for that movie was so high that about all the marketing for the sequel had to do was promise more giant-sized robot mayhem. Distributor Paramount Pictures' research indicated that 54 percent of the audience was male, compared to 60 percent male for the first movie's opening.
On the foreign front, Revenge of the Fallen invaded 58 countries and raked in $166.1 million Wednesday-to-Sunday on 9,910 screens, highlighted by an English language record in China. It has accumulated $190.3 million thus far, bringing the worldwide total to $390.3 million. The first movie's final haul was $389 million overseas for a worldwide total of $708.3 million.
Counter-programming Transformers was My Sister's Keeper. The family drama, which isn't the typical summer fare with its story of a family dealing with a cancer-stricken daughter, garnered $12.4 million at 2,606 sites. That was decent relative to past similar disease-oriented pictures. The picture was promoted as a life-affirming drama from the director of The Notebook in which the younger daughter sues her parents for the right to her own body, though the poster featuring Cameron Diaz and Abigail Breslin having a gay old time together was perhaps tonally incongruous with the movie itself. Distributor Warner Bros.' exit polling showed that 86 percent of the audience was female and was evenly split over and under 25 years old.
Amidst the Transformers onslaught, The Hangover and Star Trek had the best holds among nationwide releases, down 36 percent and 33 percent, respectively. Hangover bagged $17 million for $183.1 million in 24 days, surpassing X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Star Trek beamed in $3.7 million, lifting its total to $246.3 million in 52 days. That nudged the Star Trek franchise as a whole past the $1 billion mark (unadjusted). It's the ninth franchise in history to reach that milestone.
Up eclipsed Star Trek as the top grossing picture of 2009, a temporary standing until Revenge of the Fallen blazes past both in a matter of days. Pixar's latest pulled in $13.1 million over the weekend, off 44 percent, and its tally climbed to $250.2 million. Among Pixar movies, it inched past the final grosses of Toy Story 2 and Cars, though still trails them in terms of attendance.
Last weekend's top grossing picture, The Proposal ranked second for the weekend with $18.6 million, slipping a standard-issue 45 percent for a $69.2 million tally in ten days. Year One, on the other hand, collapsed by 69 percent, gathering $6 million for a $32.5 million total in ten days, or less than Land of the Lost at the same point. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 also continued to derail, slowing 55 percent to $5.5 million for $53.5 million in 17 days.
* Note: Revenge of the Fallen's weekend gross fell $3 million short of Paramount's Sunday estimate, which would have put the five-day opening at $198.2 million. Though shy of $200 million, it would have still ranked second among the all time five-day starts. However, Paramount revised its grosses from Wednesday and Thursday upward, and that's what pushed the total past $200 million. Wednesday went from $60.6 million to $62.0 million, and Thursday went from $28.6 million to $29.1 million. Paramount reported that the differences came from unreported showings from the movie's midnight openings on Wednesday night, which went from the previously reported $16 million at around 3,000 theaters to $16.8 million at close to 3,300 theaters, as well as late reports from institutional IMAX locations and theaters in Puerto Rico and some Caribbean islands (which the studio counts in its domestic numbers), which accounted for $1.1 million of the difference.