'Transformers' tops box office but is biggest in China

'Transformers: The Last Knight' Dawns With $48M In China – International Box Office

The latest examples: The underwhelming debuts of the fifth film in the Transformers series and the third edition of Cars.

For comparison, when Transformers: Age of Extinction (the previous film) opened, it finished the weekend with $100 million domestically.

Paramount badly needed The Last Knight to be an unqualified hit.

While Transformers has always been held up as an example of a "critic-proof" blockbuster franchise, the negative reactions from critics and fans both have taken their toll.

The film will earn an estimated $45.3 million between Friday and Sunday, which is enough for a convincing #1 on the weekend box office chart.

In China, the action flick made US$41 million on its opening day alone. Korea was the next highest with $13 million, Russian Federation followed with $8.9 million, and the United Kingdom brought in $5.7 million.

Two years later in 2011, the next Transformers movie, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, slipped just a bit, at least domestically, opening with $97.8 million (27.8% of domestic total) en route to $352.3 million domestically but a whopping $1.1 billion worldwide, thanks to the emergence of China as a global box office powerhouse.

Mark Wahlberg as Cade Yeager in "Transformers: The Last Knight".

But digging below these opening weekend numbers could give pause to forward-looking Paramount executives and other investors even while they celebrate a profitable film boosted by lucrative product-placements and a minimum box office guarantee. 2007's Transformers grossed $146 million in its first six days over the extended July 4th holiday weekend.

Speeding into second was the third instalment in Pixar's Cars franchise, with US$25.2 million (RM108 million) in its second weekend.

The feature, Michael Bay's last as director for the series, collected an estimated $45.3 million in theaters in the US and Canada, ComScore Inc. said in an emailed statement Sunday. Directed by Patty Jenkins, the DC movie has so far earned an estimated $652.9 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing live-action film directed by a woman. Made for $149 million, Wonder Woman stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, Ewen Bremner, Saïd Taghmaoui, Elena Anaya, Connie Nielsen and Lucy Davis.

The global market on the other hand has been generous and kind to Transformers 5, with China being the most lucrative one. China made up the lion's share, or $123.4 million, although Hollywood studios only get back 25 percent of box-office returns from the Middle Kingdom, compared with 40 percent or so from most foreign markets. It's definitely set to become the highest domestic-grossing DCEU film at this point and should be able to finish off with around $375 million to $380 million domestically.

Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales clung to 10th spot, digging up $229,000 in its fifth voyage on 139, down 64 per cent, for a total of $13.9 million.

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