Box Office Top 10 Film News

Box Office: Why Did Transformers: Age of Extinction Just Make Over $300 Million Worldwide in 3 Days?

To see our other box office top 10 breakdowns please go here.

Here are the bullet points for this weekend’s top 10: Transformers: Age of Extinction continued the rather inexplicable box office dominance of a film series based upon an old 80s cartoon/toy line, posting the biggest domestic/worldwide debut of the year.  Elsewhere, Maleficent and Amazing Spider-Man 2 joined the $200 million club.  Let’s do the numbers.

Top 10 Estimated Domestic Totals (6/27-6/29)

1. Transformers: Age of Extinction (Opening Weekend) 


  •  Opening Weekend Gross=$100 million
  • Budget=$210 million

Foreign: $201.3 million from slightly less than 40 territories for a worldwide bow of $301.3 million.

They waited 3 years between sequels, dropped E! True Hollywood Story-in-waiting Shia LeBouf in favor of Mark Wahlberg, added robot freakin’ dinosaurs, and courted the Chinese market despite assault and extortion attempts as well as a very public, transparent shake-down on the part of the country’s most notable hotel.  Sadly, it worked: the fourth Transformers movie just had the biggest North American opening weekend ($100 million) of 2014, and the biggest opening ($90 million) of all time in China.  It also had the second biggest Russian debut ($21.7 million) of all time, and biggest debut of the year in South Korea ($21.5 million).  It’s far from over either since it actually won’t open in most of Europe and Latin America until later in July, Paramount holding it back for fear of competing against the World Cup.  Plus, here in the US/Canada it faces no serious competition for at least a month, and has the fourth of July just around the corner.

This was the bigger domestic opening than the most recent Transformers entry (2011’s Dark of the Moon, $98 million), although Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen still has the claim to the biggest opening ($108 million) in franchise history.

Why did this happen?  Well, the last Transformers movie was the franchise’s first to join the $1 billion worldwide gross club, and everything they did in the build up to Age of Extinction seemed to go over well (replacing Shia LeBouf, adding the Dinobots, etc.).  So, a sequel to a massive hit coming along and turning into a massive instant hit isn’t surprising, although considering the absolutely toxic critical response it’s a tad surprising that opening night audiences graded the film as an A- on CinemaScore.  The bigger question is why these movies are so popular to begin with.  After you get through “appeals to teenage boys,” “plays on nostalgia for the 80s cartoons,” and “delights fans of fast cars & loose women” you run out of answers, other than “Michael Bay knows America better than we do.”

It’s worth noting that the “summer box office has not failed to have a $300 million domestic grosser from May-August since 2001 (when Shrek ruled with $267 million.)”  As of right now, Age of Extinction is 2014’s only real shot at reaching $300 million.

2. 22 Jump Street 


  • Weekend Gross=$15.4 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$139.8 million
  • Budget=$50 million

Foreign: Currently, it has an international gross of $54.2 million for a worldwide total of $194 million.

Well, that didn’t take long.  After a mere 17 days in theaters, 22 Jump Street has already surpassed the $138 million total domestic gross pulled down by its predecessor, 21 Jump Street.  There isn’t another R-rated comedy due out until mid-July (Sex Tape) meaning that 22 Jump Street should continue to keep adding to its totals for a fair while longer. Given that market and its current pace, it could end up topping year’s buddy cop mega-hit The Heat ($159 milion).

3. How to Train Your Dragon 2 


  • Weekend Gross=$13.1 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$121.8 million
  • Budget=$145 million

Foreign:  Currently, it has an international gross of $106.1 million for a worldwide total of $227.9 million.

DreamWorks recently shuffled its schedule to push an original property (Home) to next year, thus making sure its next release will be a sequel/spin-off (Penguins of Madagascar).  They are desperate for a bonafide hit, and while How To Train Your Dragon 2 is not necessarily a bomb it is most definitely a disappointment based upon pre-release expectations.

4. How to Think Like a Man Too 


  • Weekend Gross=$10.4 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$48.1 million
  • Budget=$24 million

Foreign: Not currently scheduled to open outside of North America until August.

Think Like a Man Too is performing surprisingly behind the first Think Like a Man, falling off over 15% more in its second weekend.  As such, it’s probably not going to match Think Like a Man‘s $91 million total domestic gross.  However, by hitting $48 million in domestic gross it can now be considered to have broken even since the rule of thumb is that to turn a profit you must first double your production budget since studios split ticket sales 50/50 with theaters.

5. Maleficent

BG_Maleficent news

  • Weekend Gross=$8.2 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$201.8 million
  • Budget=$175 million

Foreign: Currently, it has an international gross of $383.7 million for a worldwide total of $585.5 million.

Heading into this weekend, only one summer film, X-Men: Days of Future Past, had passed $200 million in total domestic gross.  By 6/24 of last year, four films had already passed $200 million: Iron Man 3, Fast & Furious 6, Star Trek Into Darkness, Man of Steel.  At least this weekend helped the summer of 2014 to catch up a little bit, with both Maleficent and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 joining the $200 million club.  Godzilla isn’t far behind, though like ASM 2 it will probably just barely cross $200 million.

6. Jersey Boys


  • Weekend Gross=$7.6 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$27.3 million
  • Budget=$40 million

Foreign: Currently, it has an international gross of $1.6 million in extremely limited release for a worldwide total of $28.9 million.

Over 80% of Jersey Boy‘s opening weekend audience was over the age of 35, and that was supposed to soften the blow of the film’s rather soft $13 million opening.  As Last Vegas and Monuments Men have both recently shown, films which skew older tend to open soft but stick around longer than expected mostly because older people won’t be rushed into seeing something right away, dang-nam-it.  However, Jersey Boys is already out of the top 5, and performing on par with recent jukebox musical Rock of Ages.  That movie topped out at $38 million, and though Jersey Boys actually posted a better second-weekend hold than Rock of Ages (43% for the former vs. 47% for the latter) its ceiling at this point probably isn’t too much higher.

7. The Edge of Tomorrow


  • Weekend Gross=$5.2 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$84.1 million
  • Budget=$178 million

Foreign: Currently, it has an international gross of $234.5 million for a worldwide total of $318.6 million.

We claim to want original, non-franchise blockbusters, yet here we are, living in a world where Edge of Tomorrow will be lucky to get to $100 million for its entire theatrical run and Michael Bay’s latest rock-em, sock-em robots pic just got to $100 million in 3 days.  You see, America, this is why you can’t have nice things.

Maybe because they never saw Tom Cruise bouncing up and down on Oprah’s couch, the rest of the world still loves itself a Tom Cruise film, but even then Edge of Tomorrow‘s budget plus whatever marketing the studio sunk into it likely turns this into one of those movies that will only start really making a profit once it reaches home video.

8. The Fault in Our Stars


  • Weekend Gross=$4.8 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$109.5 million
  • Budget=$12 million

Foreign: Currently, it has an international gross of $85.3 million for a worldwide total of $194.8 million.

Fault in Our Stars has sparked a feeding frenzy for studios to scoop up “grounded in reality” YA novels.  It’s also justified similar projects already in development.  The question remains whether or not this success is actually repeatable since Fault in Our Stars seems like the perfect alchemy of the right book, right actors, and right distributor at the right time.  However, unlike the recent run of supernatural and dystopian YA adaptations you can go make something just like Fault in Our Stars on a remarkably small budget in the $10 million territory.  Like most horror movies, you can make it for cheap, and be in profit after your first weekend, although its unclear how well recent “grounded in reality” YA films like Spectacular Now and Perks of Being a Wallflower really did compared to budget.

9. X-Men: Days of Future Past


  • Weekend Gross=$3.3 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$223.3 million
  • Budget=$210-240 million

Foreign: Currently, it has an international gross of $489.2 million for a worldwide total of $712.6 million.

Days of Future Past now has the biggest worldwide gross of the year, passing Captain America: The Winter Soldier‘s $711 million. That makes it a success.  The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is right behind Winter Soldier with $703 million in worldwide gross, but it’s considered a disappointment, enought that Sony might delay their previously announced Amazing Spider-Man 3.  Of course, Days of Future Past is returning its franchise to totals it hasn’t seen since 2006 whereas ASM2 has set franchise lows, both domestically and worldwide.

10. Chef


  • Weekend Gross=$1.6 million
  • Total Gross to Date=$19.4 million
  • Budget=They’re not telling

Foreign: No official foreign box office information yet.

John Favreau’s independently produced Chef has now outlasted both a Adam Sandler/Drew Berrymore romantic comedy (Blended), a Disney family film starring John Hamm (Million Dollar Arm), an R-rated western from the guy who brought us Ted (A Million Ways to Die in the West), a Seth Rogen-Zac Efron team-up (Neighbors), and the king of all monsters (Godzilla).  Every single one of those made more money, but Chef is doing it the old school way: organically building its audience (and number of theaters) as positive word of mouths spreads.

What Fell Out of the Top 10?:

Godzilla (#9 to #11).  It is currently around $3 million short of joining the $200 million club.

What’s Up Next?: A little bit horror (Deliver Us From Evil), a little bit family (Earth to Echo), and a lot of Melissa McCarthy (Tammy) combine for what has the looks of a very soft weekend heading into July 4th.



  1. The Edge of Tomorrow point is right on. I don’t know if it wasn’t advertised well, but it got good ratings and personally it was an enjoyable evening. Having read the book there were some slightly problematic changes made from the source material, but separated from that still not a bad movie.

    I refuse to see another Transformers movie it just looks like more of the same and obviously people are buying into that.

    1. On Transformers —

      I once had a conversation with a close friend about movies/characters/franchises we love so much we’d actually go to a midnight premiere because we just couldn’t wait even one day longer. At that time, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows 1 was about coming to come out. I was surprised when my friend said that while she liked Harry Potter she wouldn’t go to a midnight premiere. The only film she’d do that for would be the next Transformers movie. Sure enough, I saw Deathly Hallows at midnight, and she did the same with Transformers Dark of the Moon. I remember how excited she was the next day, telling me all about Dark of the Moon. My only thought was, “I just don’t get it.” However, I also knew that she didn’t really quite “get” why I loved Harry Potter or the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy so much.

      I always have that in the back of my mind whenever I think of the Transformers movies because I now know there are those who are just as passionate about those films than I am about Batman or whatever. So, I try to refrain from reacting too negatively, but in truth every dang thing about the Transformers films irritates the heck out of me (the treatment of female characters, the crappy CGI making it hard to even tell apart the Autobots from the Decepticons during action scenes, the self-indulgent running times, making a sequel so bad Shia LeBouf publically apologized for it and got away with it, so nakedly designed to simply drive toy sales, etc.) Plus, while I get why they continue to make money I don’t totally get why they’ve made SO MUCH money.

      1. I love all of the Transformers movies!! It’s just like people who love the stupid Star Wars, Star Trek or your pick Harry stupid Potter. They are actioned packed have a love story and a hero…what more can you ask for? As for Shia LeBouf apololgizing….he wore a bag on his head for a while, got arrested and is a little on the crazy side so you really can’t take him seriously.

      2. That’s fair. I’ve never been able to get into Transformers the same way others cannot get into Star Trek or comic book movies. Also agreed about not taking LeBouf seriously.

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