'Transformers' Blowing Up Worldwide Records
Transformers: Dark of the Moon tore past the $500 million worldwide mark yesterday, which was its ninth day in theaters. That broke the ten-day record held by Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Those movies went on to earn $963.4 million and $1.014 billion (and counting), respectively, which looks like a good target range for Dark of the Moon.

Dark of the Moon and On Stranger Tides, though, don't precisely match up as an apples-to-apples comparison. When On Stranger Tides hit $500 million, it had only been playing domestically for eight days. Dark of the Moon, on the other hand, hit domestic and foreign theaters on the same day (June 29), so it had two more days of domestic play than On Stranger Tides. On Stranger Tides, though, had the advantage of simultaneously opening in all of its foreign markets, while Dark of the Moon has yet to invade China and Japan.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon has so far earned $214 million domestically, which lagged behind predecessor Revenge of the Fallen by $27 million. Most of that, though, can be attributed to Revenge of the Fallen's incredibly front-loaded opening. Beyond the first two days, Revenge of the Fallen has only out-grossed Dark of the Moon by $10 million.

It's a much different story overseas. Dark of the Moon has already earned a massive $297.1 million and is on pace to pass Revenge of the Fallen's $434.2 million final tally no later than Thursday. As far as individual territories go, Dark of the Moon eclipsed its predecessor in Russia ($30.1 million), Germany ($20.1 million) and Brazil ($9.6 million), among other small markets, and will move ahead in South Korea, Mexico and Taiwan this weekend.

Based on its current pace, Transformers: Dark of the Moon will rocket past $600 million worldwide on Saturday, its 11th day in theaters. That will top the previous speed-to-$600 million record of 12 days held by the last two Pirates movies. Reaching that level will make Dark of the Moon the second-highest grossing movie of 2011 ahead of Fast Five ($601.5 million) and behind On Stranger Tides. Adding to Dark of the Moon's impressiveness is that it's hitting these numbers before striking China (July 21) and Japan (July 29), two territories that, combined, contributed $90 million to Revenge of the Fallen and over $170 million to On Stranger Tides.

While it's a bit premature to definitively call it, Dark of the Moon appears to be on pace to ultimately close with over $1 billion worldwide. The biggest obstacle arrives next weekend: if Transformers avoids getting completely steamrolled by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, then it should become the ninth $1 billion movie in history.

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