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Transformers: Dark of the Moon: Early opening good, but not explosive

Michael Bay’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon banked $13.5 million from its early release. Not even 3D ticket prices could bump the third Transformers installment above its predecessor, however, marking a decline in attendance. Will Dark of the Moon cash in over Fourth of July weekend?

Transformers 3 off to a good start - but not a great one. Transformers star Shia LaBeouf is all over the news these days, and not in a good way, but the third installment of his robot action series, Dark of the Moon, is already performing in theaters and off to a decent start.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon premiered at about 2,700 3D and IMAX 3D theaters at 9 p.m., Tuesday, June 28, 2011, banking $5.5 million. At around midnight Wednesday, Transformers 3 expanded to a few hundred additional 2D screens, for an additional $8 million.

That brings Transformers 3 up to $13.5 million in its early open. Sounds impressive, considering some movies see those numbers over an entire weekend, but the figure actually puts the film solidly between its two predecessors, while reflecting a decline in attendance.

Transformers 1 banked an $8.8 million opening in 2007 and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen boasted $16 million in 2009. With those cushy 3D ticket prices, Transformers: Dark of the Moon could easily have beaten them both. It seems the newest installment saw a decrease in early opening attendance.

With the movie expanding to 4,011 theaters in the U.S., Paramount is estimating the July 4th holiday weekend to bank between $155 million and $165 million for Transformers. Considering Revenge of the Fallen closed out the five-day weekend with $200 million, however, the 3D Dark of the Moon should certainly hope to do better.

On the upside, however, it just might. The third installment is already getting better word of mouth than Revenge of the Fallen. The second installment ranks as one of Paramount’s biggest performers, in spite of its terrible reviews and reputation, so perhaps Dark of the Moon will see a bump this weekend.

>>>Check out Joel D. Amos’ SheKnows review of Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Ultimately, the film’s success will come down to the final numbers. If Dark of the Moon wants to beat its predecessors, it will have to top Revenge of the Fallen‘s $402 million stateside total, plus the additional $434 million overseas.

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