‘Transformers’ Edges Out ‘Ice Age’

Weekend photo finish ends up in Paramount’s favor.

Last Updated: July 6, 2009 @ 3:24 PM

Turns out Paramount’s "Transformers 2" edged out Fox’s first 3-D release, “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” at the weekend box office by less than $1 million.

"Transformers 2" ended up with $42.4 million, while "Ice Age" grossed $41.6 million. 

“The second movie was a phenomenon worldwide,” said Chris Aronson, senior VP of domestic distribution for Fox. “This just carries through with the notion of how popular (the ‘Ice Age’ franchise) is both overseas and domestically.”

Released in March 2006, the second franchise installment, “Ice Age: The Meltdown,” finished with $652 million in global receipts.

Meanwhile, continuing to build on its record-breaking first-week performance, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” took in another $10.7 million Saturday playing at 4,234 locations and bringing its domestic total to $293.5 million.

Combined with $298 million in overseas ticket sales, the second of Michael Bay’s “Transformers” movies has taken in $591.4 million globally.

In third place, counter-programming its way through the weekend, Universal’s “Public Enemies” secured another $6.9 million on Saturday to bring its three-day weekend take to $26.2.

The Michael Mann gangster film’s total after five days of release stands at $41 million, a figure that surpasses the opening weekends for a number of adult-targeted summer releases that Universal had been comparing the movie to.

For example, “Collateral,” another one of Mann’s star-driven (Tom Cruise) films, released in the summer of 2004, took in $24.7 million for its three-day premiere, on the way to eventually grossing $101 million in North America.

“You do over $40 million and you’re talking about the highest end of the kind of start you could hope for,” said Adam Fogelson, president of marketing and distribution for Universal.

While “Public Enemies,” which stars Johnny Depp as gunslinger John Dillinger skewed towards men, Fogelson said 47% of audience members were actually female.

“This is not a one-dimensional film at all,” he said. “It’s not as though the movie cherry-picked from a small demo and it’s going to run out of audience in one week. We feel good about this start. There are a lot of movies out there doing good business, but there’s nothing out there that scratches this itch. It will be in the marketplace for at least the next month.”

Showing the kind of legs “Public Enemies” is striving for, Disney’s “The Proposal” finished fourth at the weekend box office, adding $12.8 million to a three-week total that has reached $94.2 million

Warner Bros.’ “The Hangover” continues to rack up the grosses, finishing fifth with $10.4 million. Its five-week total now stands at an impressive $204.2 million

“Up,” meanwhile, added $6.6 million to its domestic coffers, which now tally $264.9 million, a typical number of a Disney/Pixar release.

In limited-release action, Woody Allen’s “Whatever Works,” starring Larry David and Evan Rachel Wood added 320 theaters and has jumped into the top 15 box-officer earners, according to Hollywood.com.

Released by Sony Pictures Classics, the movie has taken in more than $2 million after three weeks of release.

Also notable, Summit Entertainment’s “The Hurt Locker” added another $126,000 to its tally over the weekend, playing at nine locations in New York and Los Angeles. The total for the Iraq war-themed film, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, stands at $365,000. Summit plans to expand its runs to 17 additional markets on July 10.

SATURDAY A.M. UPDATE: 

In its 10th day of release, the strong, robotic legs of Paramount’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” are still out in front of critics and the domestic box office, with the Michael Bay film adding another $18 million to its tally Friday, according to studio estimates.

Running in 4,234 North American locations, the “Transformers” sequel has now hit $269 million domestically, and $500 million worldwide.

Fox’s “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” remained just behind the robot movie, tallying $17 million Friday to bring its domestic total to $42 million after three days of release.

The animated film, Fox’s first 3D release, is on pace to surpass the $68 million weekend premiere benchmark established in 2006 by “Ice Age’s” part-two installment, which was released on a March Friday but took only a three-day weekend to make its money.

This time around, suspecting that a Fourth of July occurring on a Saturday might yield slow box-office attendance, Fox officials opted to release the film on a Wednesday to get a jump on the weekend.

Finishing third, the Michael Mann-directed “Public Enemies” drew $10.1 million, upping its cume after three days in the market to $27.3 million after three days of release.

Universal officials are comparing the film to “Collateral,” a 2004 Mann film, also released in the summer months. That movie garnered $24.7 million for its three-day weekend premiere.

The rest of Friday’s top 10:

The Proposal": $5.2 million

"The Hangover": $4.5 million

"Up": $2.7 million

"My Sister’s Keeper": $2.4 million

"The Taking of Pelham 123": $1 million

"Year One": $930,000

"Night At The Museum 2: $866,000

FRIDAY UPDATE:

Paramount’s “Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen” regained the top spot at the box office Thursday, taking in $11.5 million.
 
With its domestic total now at an estimated $250.9 million — and its international total exceeding $220 million as of Wednesday — the Michael Bay robot sequel is easily on pace to exceed half a billion dollars in global receipts by the end of the five-day Fourth of July holiday weekend.
 
Finishing second Thursday was “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” which netted $11.1 at 4,032 venues, a 20 percent drop from its premiere on Wednesday.
 
After two days, Fox’s first 3D film has brought in $24.9 million domestically, putting it roughly on pace to match the $68 million opening weekend that the first sequel, “Ice Age: The Meltdown,” established in 2006 — over a three-day weekend period.
 
Finishing third, Universal’s “Public Enemies,” directed by Michael Mann, and starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale, took in $6.6 million Thursday, down 19 percent from its Wednesday premiere performance.

Certainly for the third “Ice Age” installment, animated kiddie competition was light, with Disney/Pixar’s “Up” entering its fifth week and Disney’s guinea pig-themed “G-Force” not due out until July 24. 

Indie releases on Friday include IFC Films’ “I Hate Valentines Day,” which re-teams “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” duo Nia Vardalos and John Corbett, as well as imports “Girl From Monaco” starring France’s Fabrici Luchini and distributed by Magnolia, and Pablo Trapero’s “Lions Den,” released domestically by Strand.