This weekend, Transformers: Dark of the Moon dominated the box office with an estimated $97.5 million on approximately 9,300 screens at 4,013 locations (an estimated $116.4 million for the four-day weekend). In the process, the robo-threequel rocked the Independence Day weekend gross record, eclipsing Spider-Man 2's $88.2 million, and socked Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides for the top-grossing weekend crown of 2011 so far. The Friday-to-Sunday opening salvos of Transformers and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen were $70.5 million and $109 million, respectively.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon amassed an estimated $175.6 million for its six-day opening ($181.1 million total including Tuesday night previews), ranking as the ninth highest-grossing six-day launch ever. The last big movie to share Dark of the Moon's days and dates (Wednesday, June 29, through Sunday, July 3) was War of the Worlds in 2005, and Dark of the Moon handily out-grossed that alien invasion movie's $112.7 million six-day start, though the two movies had nearly identical percentage changes throughout the weekend.
However, whlie the first Transformers made $155.4 million by day six (including previews), the second one, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, collected $214.9 million by its sixth day. What's more, Dark of the Moon's estimated attendance was far below Revenge of the Fallen and Spider-Man 2 and even behind the first Transformers by around 15 percent. Dark of the Moon's 3D share of the gross was 60 percent at a record 2,789 3D locations, which was stronger than the 40 percent range showings of the last four major 3D releases (Cars 2, Green Lantern, Kung Fu Panda 2, Pirates 4) but still down from the format's glory days. Dark of the Moon's exit polling results were 62 percent male (compred to 54 percent male for Revenge of the Fallen) and 55 percent under 25 years old.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon had an uphill battle after the negative reactions to Revenge of the Fallen, which itself relied on the good will generated by the first Transformers to deliver its awesome numbers. Dark of the Moon looked like more of the same, though its marketing promised the slickest robo-spectacle yet as well as a stronger alien invasion/disaster angle and a reveal that humans were working with the Decepticons all this time (intended as an "oh my god" point in the ads). It wasn't enough to overcome the stench of Revenge of the Fallen, but the franchise's fumes were still strong enough and Dark of the Moon's spectacle great enough in an unspectacular summer to yield likely the first $300 million plus movie of the year.
In second place, Cars 2 sprang a leak. The Pixar sequel slowed 60 percent to an estimated $26.2 million ($32.1 million four-day). That was the steepest second-weekend drop yet for a Pixar movie and was significantly worse than WALL-E (off 48 percent) and the first Cars (off 44 percent) at the same point. With $123 million in 11 days, Cars 2's total was slightly ahead of Cars' $121 million at the 11-day mark, but attendance was worse. While Transformers: Dark of the Moon had a 60 percent 3D share, Cars 2's fell to around 35 percent from 40 percent last weekend.
Bad Teacher was downgraded by 54 percent, but it still outdrew the debut of another school-oriented comedy, Larry Crowne. The Cameron Diaz vehicle pulled in an estimated $14.5 million ($17.6 million four-day) for a $63 million sum in 11 days.
Despite the presence of Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, Larry Crowne failed to make the grade, grossing an estimated $13.1 million at 2,973 locations ($15.7 million four-day). The opening was well below par for both stars, and it's no wonder: the movie had a meek premise, coming off as a mild-mannered version of television's Community, and lacked punch in its marketing, relying too much on Hanks and Roberts' presence to carry the day. Distributor Universal Pictures' reported a demographic breakdown of 64 percent female and 81 percent 35 years of age and older.
Monte Carlo rounded out the Top Five with an estimated $7.4 million at 2,473 locations ($8.8 million four-day), which was slightly less than Ramona and Beezus from last summer. Distributor 20th Century Fox's research showed that 80 percent of Monte Carlo's audience was female and 60 percent was under 25 years old.
Green Lantern's downward spiral worsened, and the superhero movie's now dimming faster than Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. It plummeted 64 percent to an estimated $6.5 million, falling behind the older Super 8, which made an estimated $7.8 million. In 18 days, Green Lantern has grossed $103.7 million or just a bit more than what Transformers: Dark of the Moon did in its first three days. Super 8 stood at $110.1 million in 25 days.
Meanwhile, Bridesmaids crossed the $150 million mark on its 50th day and surpassed Knocked Up to become the top-grossing Judd Apatow production yet. The comedy had the second-smallest decline of the weekend behind Midnight in Paris(among nationwide releases), down 31 percent to an estimated $3.7 million. With a $153.8 million haul in 53 days, Bridesmaids also edged out the final gross of Sex and the City.