Friday, May 20, 2011

Remember that piece I wrote about Transformers 3 opening on a Friday? Yeah, never mind. Transformers: Dark of the Moon to go for the six-day box office record instead of the four-day record.

As of last night, Paramount announced that Transformers: Dark of the Moon will be opening on Wednesday June 29th, as opposed to the previously scheduled Friday July 1st.  This is slightly newsworthy for two reasons.  First of all, it means that once again a major sci-fi franchise will go its entire lifetime without ever opening on a Friday, let alone a standard three-day weekend.  Second of all, it does theoretically show confidence in the product as it exists, as this week's Jim Cameron/Michael Bay chit-chat went off like gangbusters.  There will apparently be a 3D trailer for Transformers: Dark of the Moon attached to 3D prints of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which is frankly almost enough for me to consider forging my 2D pledge and taking the IMAX plunge (or perhaps sampling Pacific Winnetka's new 79' "Immersion 3D" set-up).  I've said before that Transformers: Dark of the Moon is perhaps the only major live-action movie this year that I actually want to see in 3D, because I cannot imagine a technical pro like Michael Bay half-assing the 3D work (come what may, his movies and sound look great).  If anyone can equal the 3D proficiency shown by James Cameron, it's Michael Bay.

The third bit of note is that Paramount is now gunning for the six-day box office record (Monday of course falls on the Fourth of July), which may be in its grasp.  In terms of actual six-day opening weekends, the record still belongs to Spider-Man 2, which grossed $180 million over the Independence Day holiday back in 2004 (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse pulled in $176 million on this same weekend last year).  Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen grossed $200 million in its five day opening weekend and $212 million in six days two summers ago.  The actual six-day record of course belongs to The Dark Knight, which grossed $224 million in its first six days.  It's an open question whether or not the third robot-smashing epic can challenge those last two figures, but wider expansion of IMAX and the whole 3D ticket-price bump (coupled with a film that may actually deserve to be seen in 3D) will give it a big advantage.  As always, we'll see...

Scott Mendelson  

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