Transformers 3 Conquers Box Office Again with $47 Million

A pair of comedies could not dislodge the blockbuster Transformers: Dark of the Moon from its perch atop the North American box office. Transformers 3 held off the debuts of two new comedies, Horrible Bosses and the Kevin James vehicle Zookeeper, as it became the highest-grossing domestic earner for 2011 in less than two weeks. Overall, the box office was off 25% from last weekend’s holiday haul and a hefty 22% from a year ago when Despicable Me opened to a huge $56 million, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse earned $31 million and Predators attacked with $24.7 million.

Following a record-setting Fourth of July opening, Dark of the Moon eased 52% in its second round to earn an estimated $47 million from 4,088 screens, bringing its total to the $261 million mark. The film suffered the usual post-holiday/sequel drop off for big effects spectacles. However, the sophomore session for the latest chapter in the adventures of Optimus Prime and company had a second weekend gross that was 10% ahead of the second round for the previous film, 2009’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. That film fell 61% in its second session to earn $42 million during weekend two. At this point, Fallen was roughly 15% ahead in terms of its overall gross (are your eyes crossed yet?). While Moon will not reach the $402 million domestic gross reached by Fallen, it should reach the $340-345 million mark. Overseas, TF3 has earned a huge $298 million through last Thursday.

For a while it seemed like the R-rated comedy was an endangered species. This summer has reversed that train of thought thanks to the box office successes of Bridesmaids, The Hangover Part II and Bad Teacher. You can now add the Seth Gordon-directed comedy Horrible Bosses to the list. The comedy, which stars Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis as three employees who are out to kill their bosses (Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston and Colin Farrell), earned a solid $28.1 million in its debut on 3,040 screens for a great per-screen average of $9,247. It benefited from a solid ad campaign as well as healthy notices from the nation’s critics, who bestowed the film with a 74% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Cinemascore patrons gave it a strong “B+”.

Not faring as well was the number three film in the country, the Kevin James comedy Zookeeper, which earned a so-so $21 million from a wide 3,482 screen count and a per-screen average of $6,031. The family comedy directed by Frank Coraci (The Wedding Singer, Click) was hammered by critics to the tune of a dire 15% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Even with extensive promotion on behalf of distributor Sony Pictures and James himself, the $80 million production didn’t seem to click with its targeted demographic: families.

After opening with $7.4 million on Friday, The Zookeeper experienced a slight drop on Saturday to the tune of $7.2 million. Saturdays are usually the day that family movies are expected to rise in attendance and earn most of its weekend money. Going in the opposite direction is not a good sign for the latest Happy Madison production. Rosario Dawson co-stars in the film about a zookeeper who can talk with the animals, which also features the voice talents of Adam Sandler, Cher, Sylvester Stallone, Don Rickles and Donnie Wahlberg.

Disney/Pixar’s Cars 2 continued its downward spiral in its third weekend as the animated comedy once again eased on the throttle by 42% to earn $15.2 million on 3,990 screens. After 17 days of release, the sequel has earned a soft (by Pixar standards) $149 million. It appears that audiences are not enjoying the latest exploits of Mater and Lightning McQueen as much as they did the 2006 original, which had earned $157 after three weeks. That film, however, benefited from decent reviews and stronger word-of-mouth from families. Should Cars 2 continue its fast-track free-fall, the movie could finish its domestic box office lap around the $180 million mark. Overseas, Cars 2 has earned $83 million as of last Thursday.

In fifth place in its third week out was the Sony comedy Bad Teacher, earning an estimated $9 million on 2,962 screens. Off only 38% from the holiday weekend, the $20 million Cameron Diaz starrer has earned a solid $78.7 million and could finish its cinematic summer school session near the $100 million mark. After opening softly last weekend, Universal’s Larry Crowne dropped 52% in its second weekend to an estimated $6.2 million from 2,976 screens. After ten days, Tom and Julia have earned a meek $26.5 million. The $30 million comedy should finish with a lousy $35-40 million in domestic sales.

The remainder of the top ten is as follows:

7) Super 8 $4.8 million (-39% from last weekend; $119 million to date)

8) Monte Carlo $3.7 million (-49%; $16 million to date)

9) Green Lantern $3.1 million (-52%; $109.7 million to date)

10) Mr. Popper’s Penguins $2.8 million ($58 million to date)

Next weekend is all about Harry Potter as the eighth and final installment in the Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II, arrives on the scene with an eye set on breaking box office opening day and weekend records. Disney,meanwhile, offers up some animated fare for the younger Muggles out there with Winnie the Pooh.

– Shawn Fitzgerald

TheHDRoom may be paid a small commission for any services or products ordered through select links on this page.