Summer’s tentpole rumble continues this weekend with Paramount’s seventh Transformers movie, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, which is heat-seeking $155 million at the worldwide box office for its opening frame, $100M of that offshore.
The movie reps a concentrated reboot by the studio of the long-in-tooth robots-in-disguise franchise, which has suffered in latter installments from declining ticket sales. This is the second Transformers movie not directed by Michael Bay after 2018’s Bumblebee (though Bay still produces), and looks to distinguish itself from the fray with its introduction of the robotic animals from the Hasbro franchise. Creed II director Steven Caple Jr. is at the helm and the movie stars In the Heights’ Anthony Ramos and The Deuce and Judas and the Black Messiah’s Dominique Fishback.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is tracking strong with Hispanic, Latino and Black audiences stateside and is bound to be fighting over the No. 1 parking space atop the box office charts against Sony Animation’s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse‘s second weekend, both looking at $50M-plus. Spider-Verse is a force to be reckoned with, putting up a strong Monday of $13M and Tuesday of $15M for a running total of $148.7M. Who says competition isn’t good for the marketplace?
While Transformers: Rise of the Beasts‘ start is down from the early tracking projections that neared $70M a few weeks ago, the pic’s three-day booked at 3,673 theaters will rep a rise from the Friday-Sunday takes of Bumblebee and Transformers: The Last Knight, which posted $21.6M and $44.68M starts, respectively. Rise of the Beasts will have access to 400 Imax auditoriums and 700 PLF screens as well as 3D showtimes. There is a fan event tonight at 7 p.m., with previews starting Thursday at 3 p.m.
Rise of the Beasts is releasing in 68 overseas markets beginning with early rollout in Korea on Tuesday, followed by France, Italy and Indonesia today, then Germany, the UK, Mexico, India and Spain through Friday. The only majors not going this week are Australia and Japan which join on June 22 and August 4, respectively.
China has been finicky lately, but is a massive market for all things Transformers and has shown some signs of improvement recently. The movie currently leads resales there for the frame. In the PRC, Rise of the Beasts could do $50M of the sequel’s $100M offshore number.
Comping to the previous Transformers movie, origins story Bumblebee, is a bit tough because the target for that film was a wider demo than the rest of the franchise, and while deservedly praised by critics (91% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), came in lower at its final with $340.8M overseas (unadjusted). Also, that was a Christmas release whereas the Autobots generally come out to play in summer.
Bumblebee was an anomaly among Transformers films among critics, who traditionally loathe the crash, bang, boom of them. Rise of the Beasts currently counts 57% Rotten on Rotten Tomatoes which ties with the original 2007 movie as the second-best critical score for the franchise.
The biggest markets on Bumblebee were China, the UK, Korea, Mexico and Indonesia. In unadjusted figures, Bumblebee opened to $57.9M in China and legged out to $170.8M. On The Last Knight, the biggest offshore territories were China, Korea, Russia, Japan and Germany (Russia, of course, will not factor for Rise of the Beasts). Note further that there is heavy competition in Korea this weekend as it’s the sophomore session for local hit The Roundup: No Way Out.
The offshore promotional campaign for the Beasts has included premieres in Paris, Madrid and Luanping, China. In Beijing, there have been giant statues erected of Optimus Prime and Maximal leader Optimus Primal.
In the record books, the top global openings for Transformers movies were 2011’s Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon ($382.4M) and 2014’s Transformers: Age of Extinction ($302.1M) in unadjusted grosses for inflation or currency fluctuations.