Lat­est ‘Trans­form­ers’ film de­buts to fran­chise low

The Washington Times Daily - - LIFE - BY JAKE COYLE

NEW YORK | The hulk­ing ma­chines of “Trans­form­ers” are no longer box-of­fice be­he­moths in North Amer­ica. But they’re still big in China.

Michael Bay’s “Trans­form­ers: The Last Knight,” the fifth in­stall­ment in the Has­bro se­ries, scored a fran­chise-low do­mes­tic de­but with an es­ti­mated $43.5 mil­lion in ticket sales over the week­end and a five-day to­tal of $69.1 mil­lion since open­ing Wed­nes­day. All pre­vi­ous “Trans­form­ers” se­quels opened with $97 mil­lion-plus.

But Para­mount Pic­tures’ “The Last Knight,” the sec­ond “Trans­form­ers” movie to star Mark Wahlberg, still showed its might over­seas. It took in $196.2 mil­lion in­ter­na­tion­ally, in­clud­ing an im­pres­sive $123.4 mil­lion in China.

Fu­ture busi­ness will tell whether those grosses are enough to cover a hugely ex­pen­sive movie: $217 mil­lion to make, plus nearly as much to mar­ket. Stu­dios reap a smaller per­cent­age of ticket sales from Chi­nese the­aters. And re­views — though never much of a fac­tor in “Trans­form­ers” land — were worse for “The Last Knight” than the ear­lier films. Au­di­ences gave this one a B-plus Cin­ema Score.

Yet “Trans­form­ers” in­creas­ingly has been skew­ing in­ter­na­tional. The pre­vi­ous film, 2014’s “Age of Ex­tinc­tion,” made $858.6 mil­lion of its $1.1 bil­lion global haul abroad.

“‘Trans­form­ers’ is built for a global au­di­ence,” said Kyle Davies, pres­i­dent of distri­bu­tion for Para­mount. “You re­ally have to con­sider how we did in the over­all and it was re­ally strong over­seas and in China. That’s how we treat ‘Trans­form­ers’: It’s a global prop­erty. So we’re hope­ful that we’re go­ing to get to a good place.”

“Won­der Woman” and “Cars 3” tied for sec­ond place, both with $25.2 mil­lion. Nearly a month af­ter open­ing, Patty Jenk­ins’ “Won­der Woman” con­tin­ues to be a ma­jor draw. In four weeks, it has sur­passed $300 mil­lion do­mes­ti­cally. And at $652.9 mil­lion glob­ally, it’s the high­est gross­ing film di­rected by a woman, not ac­count­ing for in­fla­tion.

In lim­ited re­lease Ku­mail Nan­jiani’s ac­claimed ro­man­tic com­edy “The Big Sick” landed the best per-screen av­er­age of the year. It opened in five the­aters, gross­ing an av­er­age of $87,000 from each. Ama­zon plunked down $12 mil­lion for the Judd Apa­tow-pro­duced Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val hit. Lion­s­gate is han­dling the the­atri­cal re­lease.

Sofia Cop­pola’s “The Beguiled” wasn’t far be­hind. In four the­aters, it earned a per-screen av­er­age of $60,136. The Fo­cus Fea­tures re­lease, star­ring Ni­cole Kid­man, Kirsten Dunst and Colin Far­rell, is a re­make of Don Siegel’s 1972 Civil War-era gothic thriller about a wounded Union sol­dier taken in by a South­ern all-girls school. At the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val last month, Ms. Cop­pola won best direc­tor, be­com­ing only the sec­ond woman to do so.

Both “The Big Sick” and “The Beguiled” ex­pand na­tion­wide in the com­ing weeks.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

"Trans­form­ers: The Last Knight" flopped at the box of­fice this week­end, earn­ing $43.5 mil­lion.

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