Paramount and Hasbro's Transformers: The Last Knight easily topped the Wednesday box-office chart with $15.7 million from 4,069 theaters, but that's the lowest opening day for any film in the franchise, including those titles that likewise debuted midweek.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) grossed $37.7 million when launching on a Wednesday, while Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) took in $62 million on its first Wednesday.
Prerelease tracking suggests Transformers 5 will post a five-day domestic debut in the $70 million-$75 million range, notably behind the $100 million North American launch of the last title, Transformers: Age of Extinction, over the three-day June 27-29 weekend in 2014 and the lowest in the Hasbro toy-based series.
Based on Wednesday's performance, The Last Knight could have trouble clearing $65 million.
Instead, The Last Knight — similar to recent high-profile summer tentpole Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales — is counting on sizable returns internationally, where Age of Extinction grossed a massive $858.6 million to become the first Transformers movie to top the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office, on its way to resting at $1.1 billion, not accounting for inflation. The domestic portion was $245.4 million, which, again, was the lowest in the film series.
The Last Knight opens in its first 42 foreign territories this weekend, including a slew of major markets, such as China, the U.K., Russia, Australia, Germany, Italy, North Korea, and Hong Kong. In China, it's amassed more than $15 million in advance ticket sales.
Paramount puts the movie's production budget at $217 million before a major marketing spend. Transformers has never been a favorite of critics, with The Last Knight currently sporting a 16 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences gave the film a B+ CinemaScore.
Mark Wahlberg returns to star in The Last Knight — he made his franchise debut in Age of Extinction — while Laura Haddock and Anthony Hopkins join the series as an Oxford professor and English lord, respectively. Together, the three characters must race to uncover the secret history of the Transformers before the world is destroyed. Josh Duhamel, who appeared in the first three Transformers movies but sat out Age of Extinction, also stars.
The Last Knight is the only new film opening nationwide this weekend. The specialty box office sees the debut of two high-profile titles in select theaters Friday: Focus Features' The Beguiled, from director Sofia Coppola, and Lionsgate's The Big Sick, helmed by Michael Showalter.
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