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'Transformers' Crushes The Weekend Competition

DAVID GERMAIN   06/28/09 10:31 PM ET   AP

Shia Labeouf

LOS ANGELES — Alien robots have transformed into box-office superstars with $200 million in domestic ticket sales in just five days.

"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" took in $112 million in the sequel's first weekend and $201.2 million since opening Wednesday, according to Sunday estimates from Paramount, which is distributing the DreamWorks movie.

It was well on the way to becoming the year's top-grossing movie.

That was a few million dollars higher than other studios were expecting for the movie, and the figures could change a bit when final numbers are released Monday.

Still, it was a colossal start for the "Transformers" sequel, whose opening five days amounted to nearly two-thirds of the $319 million domestic total the franchise's first movie did over its entire run in 2007.

Now playing in almost every other country except India, the movie added $185.8 million overseas, for a worldwide total of $387 million. That's well over half the $708 million global total for the first "Transformers."

That first movie began with a $70.5 million weekend. Based on how well the sequel has done, "Revenge of the Fallen" could join the handful of movies that have topped the $400 million mark domestically.

"I'd say given the momentum it has, it's got a real shot," said Rob Moore, vice chairman at Paramount.

For the first five days, the "Transformers" sequel was second only to last summer's "The Dark Knight" with $203.8 million.

This was the biggest opening weekend of this year, surpassing the $85.1 million debut of "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" in early May.

The sequel began with $60.6 million on its opening day Wednesday. That also was second only to "The Dark Knight," which had the biggest box-office day ever with $67.2 million on opening day.

With $14.4 million at 169 IMAX theaters, "Transformers" set a record for a five-day opening in the giant-screen format, nearly doubling the previous best of $7.3 million set by "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix."

"Transformers" overcame harsh reviews from critics, who called it a visual-effects extravaganza without much story or human heart. Director Michael Bay has a history of bad reviews and big box office with "Armageddon" and "Pearl Harbor."

"Michael Bay knows how to build the perfect summer box-office beast," said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com. "He squarely aimed right at the demographic, right at what summer movie-goers want, and he put it on the screen. And audiences can't seem to get enough of it."

The sequel broadened the franchise's fan base. Females accounted for just 40 percent of the audience for the first "Transformers" but 46 percent for the sequel, Moore said.

Much of that was due to the on-screen romance for the characters played by Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox, who were relative unknowns when the first movie came out.

With a $13 million weekend, Disney and Pixar Animation's "Up" became the year's top-grossing film domestically at $250.2 million. It surpassed Paramount's "Star Trek," which did $3.6 million over the weekend to hit a $246.2 million total.

The reign of "Up" at the top of the year's box-office chart will be short-lived, though. The "Transformers" sequel should shoot past it in a matter of days.

The Warner Bros. melodrama "My Sister's Keeper," with Cameron Diaz and Abigail Breslin, had a so-so debut, coming in at No. 5 with $12 million. Breslin plays a daughter conceived as a donor for her older sister, who has leukemia.

Summit Entertainment's Iraq War drama "The Hurt Locker" had a strong start in limited release, taking in $144,000 in four theaters for an average of $36,000 a cinema. That compares to an average of $26,453 in 4,234 theaters for "Transformers."

Starring Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie as members of a U.S. bomb squad in Baghdad, "The Hurt Locker" has a chance to become the first real commercial success among recent war-on-terror movies, which audiences generally have avoided.

"The Hurt Locker" has earned stellar reviews since debuting at film festivals last year. It rolls out to more theaters on July 10.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Final figures will be released Monday.

1. "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," $112 million.

2. "The Proposal," $18.5 million.

3. "The Hangover," $17.2 million.

4. "Up," $13 million.

5. "My Sister's Keeper," $12 million.

6. "Year One," $5.8 million.

7. "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3," $5.4 million.

8. "Star Trek," $3.6 million.

9. "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," $3.5 million.

10. "Away We Go," $1.7 million.

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On the Net:

http://www.hollywood.com/boxoffice

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Universal Pictures and Focus Features are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of General Electric Co.; Sony Pictures, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount and Paramount Vantage are divisions of Viacom Inc.; Disney's parent is The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is a division of The Walt Disney Co.; 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox Atomic are owned by News Corp.; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a consortium of Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Sony Corp., Comcast Corp., DLJ Merchant Banking Partners and Quadrangle Group; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC Films is owned by Rainbow Media Holdings, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corp.; Rogue Pictures is owned by Relativity Media LLC; Overture Films is a subsidiary of Liberty Media Corp.

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Filed by Katherine Thomson  |