Though it took a big second Friday drop, "Transformers: Age of Extinction" had no trouble dominating an anemic Fourth of July box office. How weak was the day? The three new openers combined only grossed about $1 million more than last year's holiday opener "The Lone Ranger" on the same Friday.
The saving grace for these three films -- number two "Tammy" (Warner Bros.) at $6.4 million, number four "Deliver Us from Evil" (Sony), $2.6 million, and number five "Earth to Echo" (Relativity) at $2.5 million -- is that by normal summer studio standards, each had production costs of $30 million or much less. All three were also Wednesday openings, which spread out their initial grosses, and the Fourth is usually not a big moviegoing day compared to other holidays.
Still, it's hard to avoid the stark reality that, for the day, the Top 10 totaled only $33 million, down from $79 million from the post-Fourth Friday a year ago (the weekend "Despicable Me 2" opened, with $30 million alone for the day.)
Also standing out among the weaknesses are three long-running films that are still holding well. Number three is "How to Train Your Dragon 2" (20th Century Fox, $2.8 million), number six "22 Jump Street" (Sony, $2.5 million) and number seven "Maleficent" (Buena Vista, $1.8 million).
Though it has been disappointing, number eight "Jersey Boys" (Warner Bros.) showed some life by falling only 20% from last Friday with $1.8 million. No such luck for freefalling "Think Like a Man Too" (Sony) which again fell two-thirds to place ninth with $1.3 million. At number 10, "Edge of Tomorrow" (Warner Bros.) just edged out the right-wing historical polemic "America" (Lionsgate). In 1105 theaters, it is finding some interest though it will likely fall far short of what its creators' previous documentary "2016: Obama's America" did when it went wide at a similar theater level two years ago. Final placement won't be certain until Monday's actuals possibly.