Paramount Pictures’ “Transformers: The Last Knight” is expected to finish the weekend with $45.3 million and a five-day opening with $69.1 million.
This result, buoyed by a solid $17.5 million Saturday gross, brings the film close to the original $70 million estimate set by the studio and independent trackers after weaker weekday returns dropped estimates down to as low as $62 million.
But it’s still a steep domestic drop for this franchise from the $100 million three-day opening scored by “Transformers: Age of Extinction” back in 2014. “The Last Knight” received a 15 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes and a B+ on CinemaScore, giving it a reception nearly identical to that of the 2009 sequel “Revenge of the Fallen,” which made just shy of $109 million in its opening.
With domestic returns falling off, “The Last Knight” will turn to international markets for a big profit. On Friday, the film opened in 41 markets outside the U.S. and grossed an estimated $85 million, including $47.9 million from China. The latter is the third highest opening day total for any release in China behind only the openings posted by the two most recent “Fast & Furious” films.
“The Last Knight” is now estimated to have a franchise-high opening weekend in China of $123.4 million, a 34 percent increase over the opening for “Age of Extinction.” With more “Transformers” films still on Paramount’s slate — the next one is due to be released in 2019 — it appears that the future of this franchise lies with the Chinese.
Indeed, “The Last Knight” has received substantial financing and marketing support from Chinese groups, including Dalian Wanda Group, Weying Technology, Huahua Media and Shanghai Film Group, with the latter two groups currently in a studio-wide co-financing agreement with Paramount.
Combined, “Transformers: The Last Knight” is looking at a $265 million global opening against a $217 million budget, putting it on the high end of the $230-270 million pre-weekend estimate.
Competing for the No. 2 spot are “Cars 3” and “Wonder Woman,” which are estimated to make $25.2 and $25.1 million respectively. For “Cars 3,” a $25 million second frame would put it right at the $100 million domestic mark. It will come down to family turnout at Sunday matinees to determine whether it will edge out “Wonder Woman” on the charts this weekend.
“Wonder Woman,” meanwhile, is aiming towards bigger goals regardless of where it finishes by the end of today. It passed the $300 million domestic and $650 million worldwide milestones this weekend, and sometime this coming week it should pass “Batman v Superman” as the highest domestic grossing DC Extended Universe film so far. Once it does, it will rank third amongst all DC films on the domestic front behind only “The Dark Knight” ($534.8 million) and “The Dark Knight Rises” ($448.1 million).
“47 Meters Down” will take fourth in its second weekend, grossing an estimated $7.2 million to bring its cume to $24 million. “All Eyez on Me,” meanwhile, fell from its $27 million opening all the way to just under $6 million in its second frame, putting it in fifth.