The field was clear for "Transformers: Age of Extinction" (Paramount), Michael Bay's fourth and, to the tune of $210 million, most expensive robot vs. human epic. With the best Friday gross since "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" last November ($70 million), "Transformers" delivered with an opening day (including late Thursday shows) figure of $41.6 million. This result positions it to be the first to open over $100 million since that November after a series of solid, but not record-breaking, tentpole entries this summer.
Through two months this season, the box office has slumped in total despite a series of successful films. With the three earlier "Transformers" entries each surpassing $300 million domestic, this looked like a solid bet to reverse fortunes, at least in the short haul. Initially, it's working -- the Top 10 yesterday totaled about $64 million, up from $58 the same Friday last year, although the full weekend might end up closer.
Last weekend's number one film, "Think Like a Man Too," (Sony) took a steep fall to #4 and less than a third of its opening day with $3.4 million. This allowed both "22 Jump Street" (Sony), $5 million and "How to Train Your Dragon 2" (20th Century Fox), $4.1 million, to position themselves to repeat at number two and number three. And with that, the top four slots would all be sequels.
The absence of any other new opener seems to have helped several other films. Among the holdovers in the Top 10, other than "Think Like a Man Too," none fell more than 50-percent even with many experiencing major theater count reduction. Despite this, none of the rest of the entries will gross over $10 million for the weekend.
The rest of the top 10 as follows:
#5 - "Maleficent" (Buena Vista) - $2.6 million
#6 - "Jersey Boys" (Warner Bros.) - $2.25 million
#7 - "The Fault in Our Stars" (20th Century Fox) - $1.85 million
#8 - "Edge of Tomorrow" (Warner Bros.) - $1.565 million
#9 - "X Men: Days of Future Past" (20th Century Fox) - $950,000
#10 - "Chef" (Open Road) - $435,000