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Weekend Box Office: ‘Transformers 3’ Dominates Again, Now Highest Grossing Domestic Film Of 2011

Weekend Box Office: ‘Transformers 3’ Dominates Again, Now Highest Grossing Domestic Film Of 2011

‘Horrible Bosses’ & ‘Zookeeper’ Start Out Strong

Two weeks ago, Paramount Pictures announced that it had crossed the $1 billion mark at the domestic box office, making it the first studio to accomplish the milestone this year. This was the Wednesday that “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” was released, so suffice to say Paramount are going to have a hell of a year. To little surprise, Michael Bay‘s thunderous monstrosity of a picture dominated the box-office once more this weekend, adding a not-too-shabby $47 million dollar haul to its total despite a 51.9% drop-off. And that drop-off is lighter than “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” suggesting this picture could have some killer legs. Having reached the $261 million mark domestically, ‘Dark Of The Moon,’ has become the top grossing films of the year in the U.S. so far. Having sucked up $645 million worldwide, it is currently the second highest grossing film of the year worldwide, but it still has to reach the $1.01 billion accumulated by “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” so far if it wants the top slot. But with over $500 million worldwide in two weeks, “Transformers 3” hitting the one billion mark seems like an inevitability.

However, this performance is nearly in-line with ‘Pirates 4’.” Like ‘Pirates,’ “Transformers” was the first offering of the series to offer 3D and thus utilize enhanced prices. Like “Pirates” the film is benefiting from a massive overseas performance far surpassing the previous efforts in the series (“T3” will be the biggest international “Transformers” film by next weekend).

Being in the Michael Bay business is lucrative and while he vows that a smaller film is next and “Transformers” 4″ will have to use another director, don’t be surprised if he gets sucked into at least some kind of other summer event-picture with gigantic budgets and high stakes. This is what the man is good at and studios know this all too well. It may simply not be beneficial to their bottom line for Bay to direct a $20 million dollar crime picture so expect them to dangle huge offers in his face to crystallize some other brand or franchise waiting to be minted.

Seth Gordon has to be feeling pretty good right now. His R-rated comedy “Horrible Bosses” grossed a healthy $28.1 million in its opening weekend, only $3 million less than the opening weekend of his much broader holiday comedy, “Four Christmases” which went on to a very sturdy $120 million dollar total domestically. Those kinds of numbers would keep the ‘King Of Kong‘ director very much in the studio’s good graces and continue to keep his name atop the list for studio comedies (though dude, do one of your indies, please). The good news for Warner Bros. is that the debut “Horrible Bosses” numbers are higher than those of “Bridesmaids” which took in $26 million in its opening weekend, but lower than “Bad Teacher” which has an extremely healthy $31.6 million weekend opening.

Kevin James‘ “Zookeeper” amassed a respectable $21 million weekend opening, up $4 million from the cume “The Dilemma” grossed earlier this year, but significantly lower than the “Paul Blart” opening of 2009, suggesting the powers of one Mr. James are waning. Then again, “Paul Blart” was a fluke, but for a broad, family-friendly PG-rated film, these aren’t exactly impressive numbers. Give it a few weeks and this film could fall out of the top 10 with a quickness.

“Cars 2” will earn the distinction of being the least-attended Pixar movie when all is said and done, but its $148.8 million domestic gross so far is only something to scoff at in comparison to the numbers of the original. Still, the bottom line numbers are not Pixar’s endgame here. “Cars” amassed $8 billion in toys and other merchandise since its release in 2006 and “Cars 2” will only goose those numbers. At this point, box-office is simply gravy and to keep the brand in the faces of children who will then pester their parents relentlessly until the toy riches are theirs.

Speaking of “Bad Teacher,” it’s become a good year for the R-rated female comedy and the brand that is Cameron Diaz. The foul-mouth comedy added another $15.1 million to its total which is a very respectable number for third-week business and it’s drop-off is only -38.0% from week two. Even these legs continue, the film will easily be able to cross the domestic $100 million mark in two or three week’s time. Considering another R-Rated comedy (“Horrible Bosses”) was opening in theaters, “Bad Teacher,” is sitting relatively pretty.

The story is much different for Mr. Nice guy Tom Hanks. His new picture, “Larry Crowne,” has already flopped with audiences and critics and a 52.2% drop-off and a $6.2 million dollar addition to its total means the picture will probably fall out of the top 10 (and public consciousness) in just over a weeks time. Having gross $16 million in two weeks, Fox’s “Monte Carlo” is a certifiable flop, doesn’t do much to prove the studio confidence in the teen film nor the power of Selena Gomez. And of course it just further proves the the box-office poison which is Leighton Meester.

Still performing strong as the oldest release in the top ten, “Super 8” coasted on it’s way to a possible $120-$130 million total, a spectacular success that gave J.J. Abrams the clout to refuse Paramount’s urging to rush-release a new “Star Trek” for next summer. Which is something worth marginally celebrating, in that it keeps us from yet another poorly-realized, undercooked sequel. The film leapfrogged “Monte Carlo” in it’s second weekend, though that film came and went so quietly we wonder if it actually exists. “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” began to wrap up its middling run at the bottom of the top ten, while “Green Lantern” isn’t even popular on Oa.

And while it already crossed the $100 million domestic mark last week, in its fourth week of release, a paltry $3.1 million addition to its total may prove that Warner Bros.’ “Green Lantern,” may just be the most expensive flop of the year (an estimated $200 million-+ budget). Oh wait, that distinction probably lies with the $200 million+ budgeted Warner Bros. film “Sucker Punch,” which failed to even cross the $90 million mark domestically. Still, WB and D.C. are probably still huddled in a major rethink, deciding on whether they should toss out the already scripted “Green Lantern 2” script, and or pull in some ringers for a major overhaul. At this point, “Green Lantern” will be lucky if it even reaches the the $120 million mark domestically which will make it one of the lowest grossing super hero films of recent years and place it among the dubious company of films like “Fantastic Four:Rise of the Silver Surfer” ($131 millon domestically). At least it will be significantly higher than “Elektra” ($56 million) and “Catwoman” ($82 million)

1. “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” – $47.02 million (worldwide gross $645 million)
2. “Horrible Bosses” – $28.1 million
3. “Zookeeper” – $21 million
4. “Cars 2” – $15.2 million -42.1% (worldwide gross $231 million)
5. “Bad Teacher” – $9 million (worldwide gross $107.3 million)
6. “Larry Crowne” – $6.2 million (worldwide gross $29.5 million)
7. “Super 8” – $4.8 million (worldwide gross $163 million)
8. “Monte Carlo” – $3.8 million (worldwide gross $17.4 million)
9. “Green Lantern” – $3.1 million (worldwide gross $143 million)
10.” Mr. Popper’s Penguins” $2.8 million (worldwide gross $68.8 million)

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