‘Transformers’ holds tight at No. 1 in Korea, U.S.The Michael Bay sequel “Transformers: Age of Extinction” topped box offices here and in the United States over the weekend.
Paramount’s “Transformers,” the fourth in the series, opened the weekend prior to the year’s biggest debut with $100 million. The movie, with a rebooted cast led by Mark Wahlberg, dropped considerably (63 percent) in its second week despite relatively little competition in the United States.
Overseas, “Age of Extinction” is performing exceptionally well. It added $95.8 million from 37 territories for a two-week worldwide gross of $575.6 million. It’s set to soon become the highest grossing film ever in China, with more than $200 million in box office sales already.
“Transformers 4,” which was partially shot in China, features local star Li Bingbing and premiered at the Shanghai Film Festival.
In Korea, it has continued to stay at No. 1 for two consecutive weeks, adding an audience of almost one million at local theaters from Friday to Sunday, according to the Korean Film Council.
“The Divine Move,” featuring Jung Woo-sung and Ahn Sung-ki, came in second after it opened here on Thursday. It garnered more than 925,000 ticket sales over the weekend, closely chasing the “Transformers” series.
But in the United States, the Fourth of July weekend sputtered not because of an oversize bomb like “The Lone Ranger,” but because of many factors, including that Hollywood simply didn’t aim for big fireworks this year. The holdover “Transformers” led all films with an estimated $36.4 million, while “Tammy” had a below expectations Friday-to-Sunday haul of $21.2 million.
“This ranks as one of the lowest Fourth of Julys ever,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box office tracker Rentrak.
“We always think of Fourth of July being a big weekend. This year, we just have to lick our wounds and look forward to ‘Planet of the Apes’ and some other films to get us back on track.”
New Line’s R-rated, Midwest road trip romp “Tammy” boasts one of the most bankable stars in movies - Melissa McCarthy - but is a smaller, homespun movie made for just $20 million and directed by McCarthy’s husband, Ben Falcone. Despite being savaged by critics, the Warner Bros. release made $32.9 million in five days since opening Wednesday.
“Why the weekend was so weak in terms of competition is hard to tell,” said Dan Fellman, head of domestic distribution for Warner Bros., who said he was very pleased with the performance of “Tammy.”
The other new wide release was the horror flick “Deliver Us From Evil,” which had no blockbuster ambitions. The Sony Screen Gems release, starring Eric Bana, opened in third with $9.5 million. Also debuting was Relativity Media’s animated release “Earth to Echo,” which took in $8.3 million.
Such movies are a far cry from the usual Independence Day fare, which has in the past included the opening weekends of “Spider-Man 2,” “War of the Worlds,” two earlier “Transformers” releases and, naturally, “Independence Day.”
By Lee Sun-Min, AP [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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