Box Office: 'Transformers 4' Hits $100 Million for $301.3 Million Worldwide Debut
Michael Bay’s 3D tentpole becomes the first film of 2014 so far to conquer the $100 million threshold in North America; overseas, it opens to $90 million in China, the biggest debut of all time.
by Pamela McClintock
Paramount’s Transformers: Age of Extinction debuted to $100 million in North America, the best number of the year to date and reinvigorating the giant robot franchise. Overseas, it was even more massive in its initial assault, taking in $201.3 million for a worldwide bow of $301.3 million.
The $210 million tentpole, earning an A- CinemaScore despite blistering reviews, is easily the biggest opening of star Mark Wahlberg's career, thanks to a strong turnout by males (64 percent).
Age of Extinction — featuring a new leading man in Wahlberg, who replaces the troubled Shia LaBeouf — broke records in China, earning $90 million to mark the top opening of all time for any film. The movie went to great lengths to prosper in China, including shooting at some of the country’s most iconic sights, such as the Great Wall.
The 3D film scored the top debut of the year internationally, even though it won’t roll out in most of Europe and Latin America until after the World Cup. In addition to China, the tentpole generated big returns in Russia, where it took in $21.7 million, the second biggest launch of all time, with 3D grosses representing 80 percent. And it did nearly as much in South Korea, nabbing the top opening of the year with $21.5 million.
Overall, Age of Extinction is pacing 35 percent of Transformers: Dark of the Moon in its first 37 territories.
Michael Bay returned to direct the fourth installment, considered a reboot because of its new cast, including young stars Nicola Peltz and Jack Reynor. Age of Extinction takes place four years after a devastating face-off between the Autobots and the Decepticons in Chicago in the last film Dark of the Moon, and introduces the Dinobots (i.e., dinosaur robots) for the first time.
Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore said the film ushers in a new era for the series. “Mark is incredibly likeable and together, Michael and Mark have refreshed the franchise. You definitely see the great chemistry between them,” he said.
Moore said the movie’s outstanding performance in China came out of Paramount’s close working partnership with China Film Group. “It was very educational” as China becomes more and more important, Moore said. He also noted that Age of Extinction was the first major studio movie to have its worldwide premiere in China.