Film Weekend Per Tht Cum. Total
1 Transformer 3 $116,400,000*** $29,006 $181,125,000
2 Cars 2
$32,072,000 (-52%) $7,794 $123,002,615
3 Bad Teacher $17,600,000 (-44%) $5,772 $63,045,971
4 Larry Crowne $15,742,035 $5,295 $15,742,035
5 Super 8 $9,525,000 (-21%) $3,085 $110,061,422
6 Monte Carlo $8,750,000
$3,538 $8,750,000
7 Green Lantern $7,985,000 (-56%) $2,434 $103,677,253
8 Penguins $6,850,000 (32%) $2,394 $51,874,722
9 Bridesmaids $4,423,965 (-16%) $3,185 $153,798,330
10 Midnight In Paris $2,316,157 (+3%) $5,030 $34,516,229

If you’re keeping score with the predictions, know that I decided it would be more interesting to look at the complete Transformers holiday package, and at this point I may as well look at everyone’s Monday numbers. I wasn’t particularly accurate this week though, if you’re in to keeping my honest.

So the successor to 2009’s highest grossing non-Avatar film is the big story this weekend, as it busts in to inevitably break a few records and make some mad cash. It has done so. As has been the case with virtually every major sequel releases this year though, the big numbers mask a lower domestic attendance total than its predecessor. Essentially 3D and international are jumping up and down waving their arms and when you look, the overall ticket sales numbers are kneecapped, black-bagged and dragged away to rot in a dark place.

So a 3-day and 4-day record for Independence day, and IMAX opening record, and $500 million global within spitting distance after only a week. Even while dragging a bit behind Transformers 2, Michael Bay’s final foray into the world of robotic children’s playthings has justified every hooker and mountain of coke Paramount threw at the director to return. That the film is making most audience members happy, and looks to have at least incrementally better legs ahead must be all the more pleasing. It’s always said that blockbusters use smoke and mirrors to cover their logical bankruptcy, but in the case of Revenge of the Fallen, the mirrors were all mis-aligned and the smoke poorly timed so that you got too many peeks behind the curtain at just how retarded that film was. In the case of Transformer 3, Bay and co. took the time to engineer a “script” and refine a “story” that worked in tandem with the manic energy of the film rather than against it, successfully returning to that sweet spot of logical elasticity in which Bay can make magic. To exploit another tired metaphor- it’s the same roller coaster (bigger and upgraded of course), but this time they rounded up all the monkeys that were loose inside the fence and throwing globs of shit into your face during the ride.

It’s a subject I plan on which I plan on opining further, but I do wonder how inextricably linked Bay’s brand is with this franchise. There’s no chance Paramount will leave it alone after the director splits, and I wonder what the approach will be. Even if Mike has his fingerprints over every inch of this thing, it’s not the Nolan Bat franchise or anything, and they can pretty much follow it up however they please and the audience will probably roll with it. Surprisingly, Bay left behind some toys for whoever comes next to play with the rich ‘formers mythos next, so they’re not even barrel-scraping yet.

Apparently the big silly robots didn’t leave enough scratch left over for anybody but olds to see Larry Crowne this weekend, and the Hanks/Roberts dream team managed a pretty pitiful total across the Holiday weekend. The counter-programming just didn’t work- sold as a sweetly honest look at the struggles of one of America’s timeless faces couched in the relatable reality of our modern economic woes didn’t catch. Even with a relatively low budget, and the signs of decent legs, this isn’t the story anyone was hoping for when Hanks started a more extensive public marketing tour than he’s done in over a decade. I haven’t caught the film, but the ads had the uncanny ability to make me suddenly feel like an impetuous 16-year-old simply because I could muster no other reaction than, “that looks boring as shit, and for old people.” For the life of me I couldn’t muster anything more mature.

Cars 2 has proven itself to not be entirely critic/word-of-mouth proof, and has had a steepish drop off (for a Pix flick). Oh well, I guess Disney will console themselves with the billion dollars Pirates 4 has made, and the next 8 billion dollars that the Cars licensing revenue stream will bring in. For the savvy, this sequel gets lumped in with the already maligned original black sheep, and is easy to chalk up to Disney’s greed or Lasseter’s quaint little pet passion without really tainting the brand much. A Pixar fan has only to watch the Brave trailer and move on with their day.

So Transformers has the hype seat until Potter, as Kevin Jame would have to expand well beyond even his bafflingly exaggerated pay-grade to push it out of number one. I think I’m seeing Zookeeper, so if I survive the genital hemorrhage, perhaps we’ll be able to condescendingly shake our heads at middle america’s tastes together next Sunday.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topics at hand. Tweet at me: @rennbrown, or drop a great load in the comments or message boards!

The thread in which you talk about this stuff.