With $92.1 million in three days ($97.6 million including previews), Transformers: Dark of the Moon edged out The Hangover Part II's $91.3 million as the top-grossing three-day start of 2011 so far. However, its predecessor, Revenge of the Fallen, had generated $127.9 million by Day Three, and, while the first Transformers movie had a lower three-day gross ($84.9 million), it had nearly 20 percent greater estimated attendance than Dark of the Moon. Dark of the Moon's 3D share of the gross continued to be 60 percent at a record 2,789 3D locations.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon jumped 53 percent from Thursday to Friday, which was a greater increase than its predecessors at the same point. The increase was comparable to War of the Worlds, which opened on the same day and date in 2005 and, hence, is a more apples-to-apples daily comparison through the Independence Day holiday. If Dark of the Moon continues to have a similar pattern to War of the Worlds, its three-day weekend would come in at around $97 million and its four-day would hit over $115 million. That puts Dark of the Moon in contention to break Spider-Man 2's Independence Day opening gross records ($88.2 million Friday-Sunday; $115.8 million Friday-Monday).
The five-day, Wednesday-to-Sunday Independence Day opening gross record is also potentially within Transformers: Dark of the Moon's reach. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is the current benchmark with $157.6 million. Through Monday, its sixth day, Dark of the Moon could be sitting at close to $180 million, which would firmly rank among the Top Ten six-day opening grosses ever, even if it trails the previous Transformers movies in gross and/or attendance.
In second place, Cars 2 sprang a leak. The Pixar sequel slowed 69 percent to an estimated $7.9 million. That was the steepest first-Friday-to-second-Friday drop yet for a summer Pixar release. WALL-E was the previous low at 61 percent, while the first Cars was off 53 percent at the same point. With $98.8 million in eight days, Cars 2's total was ahead of Cars' $92.5 million, but attendance was way down and the gross lead is on pace to vanish as well. While Transformers: Dark of the Moon had a 60 percent 3D share, Cars 2's fell to around 35 percent.
Bad Teacher was downgraded by 63 percent, but it still outdrew the debut of another school-oriented comedy, Larry Crowne. The Cameron Diaz vehicle pulled in an estimated $4.5 million for a $49.4 million sum in eight days.
Despite the presence of Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, Larry Crowne failed to make the grade, grossing an estimated $4 million at 2,973 locations. Monte Carlo rounded out the Top Five with an estimated $3.1 million at 2,473 locations, which was slightly higher than Ramona and Beezus from last summer.
Green Lantern's downward spiral continued. The superhero movie plummeted 68 percent to an estimated $1.9 million, falling behind the older Super 8, which made an estimated $2.2 million. In 15 days, Green Lantern has grossed $97.6 million or about as much as Transformers: Dark of the Moon did in just over three days. Super 8 stood at $102.7 million in 22 days.
Meanwhile, Bridesmaids crossed the $150 million mark on its 50th day and also became the top-grossing Judd Apatow production yet.