Independence Day Box Office: How Hard Up Were You to Sit Through Transformers: Dark of the Moon?
Transformers: Dark of the Moon became had the biggest 4th of July opening weekend ever, racking up $116 million over the four-day weekend and $181 million since it opened last Tuesday night. It also earned $210 million overseas, making it Paramount’s biggest overseas opener of all time. It broke box-office opening weekend records in South Korea, Hong Kong, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Peru and Panama. It was also the biggest opening weekend of the year in the United States. Despite that, Dark of the Moon actually had 15 percent fewer attendees than did the first Transformers movie.
Bridesmaids surpassed Sex and the City this weekend to become the highest grossing R-Rated female ensemble comedy of all time (the highest grossing R-Rated movie directed by a female is still a mystery). Bridesmaids also become Universal’s most successful romantic comedy, the 7th highest grossing romantic comedy of all time and Judd Apatow’s top-grossing film of all time, either as a producer or a director.
Meanwhile, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides surpassed $1 billion in movie ticket sales globally over the weekend, the second Pirates film to do so. It also become the third biggest box-office hit internationally of all time.
Larry Crowne landed at number four for the weekend, mustering a disappointing $15.4 million despite the so-called star power of Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. 93 percent of its audience was over the age of 25. Seventy-one percent were over the age of 50. Seventy one percent. There are Friday night bingo games with fewer old people.
In at second place was Cars 2, boasting the second biggest second-weekend dropoff for a Pixar movie ever, falling 60 percent. The movie may struggle to reach $200 million.
The other weekend debut, Monte Carlo made less than $9 million and opened at number six, a slightly better opening than Selena Gomez’s last film, Ramona and Beezus.
What does it all mean? It means that people, by and large, were starved for entertainment over the fourth of July weekend and their options were limited. If you live in a city without a decent independent theater, there have only been four decently reviewed wide releases this summer: X-Men: First Class, Bridesmaids, Thor and Super 8, and nothing since June 10th. If you like to see a lot of movies, I feel bad for you. This is a big part of the problem for the summer blockbuster season: Huge movies stake out a weekend two years in advance (se e: The 13 Most Anticipated Films of 2013) and no one dares to open anything decent against them, worried that audiences will choose the spectacle over the better reviewed film. But, if there had been better options facing Dark of the Moon, Green Lantern, On Stranger Tides and Bad Teacher, I think audiences would’ve taken the bait. Larry Crowne didn’t fail because it was against Transformers; it failed because it was a bad movie (with a bad marketing campaign).
Big fourth of July movies are big, in part, because studios give us no other choices. Check out the films that opened against 4th of July tentpoles over the last several years: Rebound, Blood Work, License to Wed, The Last Airbender, Out to Sea, Phenomenon, and Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde. Those films didn’t fail because of better competition; they failed because they were terrible f*cking films. Dark of the Moon was like the sweaty fat dude you picked up at last call because you were drunk and horny, and the results were about the same: You fell asleep about halfway through. Look at the tentpole releases over Independence Day during the last 15 years, count the number of them they you really liked? War of the Worlds? Maybe. Men in Black? Sure. Spider-Man 2. Absolutely. Anything else? Now, count the number of Independence Day films that left you with brain damage? You can’t count that high anymore, can you? Stupid brain damage.