Transformers' $114m opening biggest of 2014

By Derrik J Lang

Grimlock in a scene from Transformers: Age of Extinction
Grimlock in a scene from Transformers: Age of Extinction

Transformers: Age Of Extinction is ruling the box office.

The fourth instalment in filmmaker Michael Bay's morphing robots series earned US$100 million (NZ$114 million) in North America during its opening weekend, making it the biggest debut for a movie this year, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

The Paramount blockbuster outperformed Captain America: The Winter Soldier and its US$95 million inauguration in April.

Age Of Extinction also earned US$201.3 million from 37 international territories, including China.

It made US$90 million in China, where it was partially filmed and co-produced by partners such as the state-owned China Film Group and the China Movie Channel.

"With almost half of the international total coming from China, it shows how important that marketplace is to the worldwide box office," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak.

"This film has really capitalised on all fronts."

Age Of Extinction stars Mark Wahlberg and Nicola Peltz as a human father-daughter duo who aid the shape-shifting robots from the Hasbro toy franchise.

Besides the addition of a new human crew, the sequel also introduces the popular Transformers characters based on the likenesses of dinosaurs.

"I think putting Mark Wahlberg front and centre accomplished what we wanted to do, and that's re-energise the franchise," Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore said.

"He appeals to audiences, both critically and as an action star."

Age Of Extinction topped the previous entry in the series, Dark Of The Moon, which took in US$97.9 million during its opening weekend in 2011 but failed to eclipse the US$108.9 million debut of the second film, Revenge Of The Fallen.

The first three Transformers films starred Shia LaBeouf as a teenager who befriends hulking alien robots Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) and Bumblebee. The original 2007 film made US$70.5 million and went on to domestically gross US$319.2 million.

Age Of Extinction was distantly followed at the North American box office by a trio of sophomore efforts: 22 Jump Street in second place with US$15.4 million; How To Train Your Dragon 2 in third place with US$13.1 million; and Think Like a Man Too in fourth place with US$10.4 million.

Read TimeOut's three-star review of Transformers: Age of Extinction.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at US and Canadian theatres, according to Rentrak. Where available, latest international numbers are also included.
1. Transformers: Age Of Extinction, US$100 million (US$201.3 million international).
2. 22 Jump Street, US$15.4 million (US$9.6 million international).
3. How To Train Your Dragon 2, US$13.1 million (US$17.9 million).
4. Think Like a Man Too, US$10.4 million.
5. Maleficent, US$8.2 million (US$16 million international).
6. Jersey Boys, US$7.6 million (US$11 million international).
7. Edge of Tomorrow, US$5.2 million (US$6.9 million international).
8. The Fault in Our Stars, US$4.8 million (US$13 million international).
9. X-Men: Days of Future Past, US$3.3 million (US$6.2 million international).
10. Chef, US$1.6 million.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theatres (excluding the US and Canada), according to Rentrak:
1. Transformers: Age Of Extinction, US$201.3 million.
2. The Break-Up Guru, US$20.5 million.
3. How To Train Your Dragon 2, US$17.9 million.
4. Maleficent, US$16 million.
5. The Fault in Our Stars, US$13 million.
6. 22 Jump Street, US$9.6 million.
7. Mrs. Brown's Boys, US$7.8 million.
8. Edge of Tomorrow, US$6.9 million.
9. Blended, US$6.4 million.
10. X-Men: Days of Future Past, US$6.2 million.

- AP

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