As we went into this weekend, and another Michael Bay Transformers movie was the only major release, and it arrived on a tidal wave of toxic reviews just as its predecessors did, some might have wondered if the franchise was out of gas; after all, how many 2.5-hour movies can possibly be made out of the Autobots and Decepticons bashing the crap out of each other? And the answer turned out to be “four, possibly more.” Age of Extinction (or Trans4mers) managed to take in $100 million in the U.S. and $300 million worldwide over the 3-day period, including the biggest opening ever for an American movie in China (it made $90 million in that country alone). It ranks second in terms of the best openings in the franchise (the second installment made $8 million more in its opening frame). And the audience was 64 percent male and gave it an A- Cinemascore rating, proving once more that this is a franchise that’s largely critic-proof.
Nothing major opened against the giant fighting robots, as expected, so the only other notable releases were on the limited side. The long-delayed-by-the-Weinsteins Chris Evans-starring action movie Snowpiercer was the most anticipated on that end, opening to $162,100 at 10 locations, a $20,263 per-screen average. There’s no specific plan for expansion right now (and the film could have gotten a wide release to start if the Weinsteins hadn’t negotiated a bizarre deal where the film would remain uncut only if it got a limited release), but it seems the interest is there and we should see the movie expanding soon. More successful was the Mark Ruffalo/Keira Knightly indie comedy Begin Again, which opened to $148,000 in five locations ($29,600 per-screen average) and will indeed expand in the coming weeks.
In older movie news, last week’s number one, Think Like A Man Too, had a predicted 64 percent fall to fourth place with $10.4 million, though its now-$48 million gross has doubled its production budget. And 22 Jump Street passed the gross of the original film this weekend, bringing in $15.4 million in second place and a $139 million overall total (the first film tapped out at $138.4 million).
Next weekend brings the Fourth of July and the end of seeing the trailer for Tammy before every single movie that comes out.