Springtime for Megatron!
Autobots waged their battle to destroy the evil forces of the Decepticons at theaters worldwide this weekend once again, but fewer humans than ever showed up to watch. Transformers: The Last Knight pulled in only $69 million at the domestic box office over the five-day weekend, Variety reports. For most films, news of a $69 million opening weekend would be greeted with a heartfelt “nice!” from studio heads, but the budget for the new Transformers movie was more than $200 million, and this represents the worst opening in the franchise’s five-film history. (The $1.8 million opening weekend for 1986’s animated feature Transformers: The Movie doesn’t count, because it was made before adults started going to Transformers movies.) It’s just more proof that the Transformers movies are critic-proof: Slate’s Sam Adams was reluctantly won over by the film, but a good review didn’t make any more of a difference to the box office than the widespread critical revulsion that greeted director Michael Bay’s earlier, more financially successful installments.
But the encouraging signs that the American public may have begun to tire of giant robot movies must be weighed against the fact that the larger world clearly has not. The film racked up $196.2 million in foreign box office, with $123.4 million coming from China alone. Paramount distribution president Megan Colligan made the studio’s priorities explicit:
In the end, our business is global. The global number does matter, and this movie is built for global audiences. We certainly would have liked to see more come out of the domestic market.
In the non-giant-robot division, The Big Sick, the semi-autobiographical romantic comedy written by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon, reportedly earned $435,000 from just five locations, giving it the highest per-screen average of any film this year. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman took second place in overall domestic box office, bringing in another $25.2 million. It placed just ahead of Cars 3, which dropped to $25 million in its second weekend.
Paramount is reportedly working on at least two more Transformers movies.