After a season opening weekends largely ranging from great to decent, the box office hit a snag last weekend when Think Like A Man Too opened with a "victorious" $29.2 million. Clearly the film has an audience, but not enough of an audience to bring in Captain America: The Winter Soldier numbers. At $95 million, the Marvel Studios picture is the one to beat for this year's opening weekend crown. Many films have tried, and failed to top the high bar that the Cap has set for everyone else, and so far it's been a close but no cigar market. If estimates are to believed, however, that ranking may belong to Transformers: Age Of Extinction after this weekend.
Variety spoke with VP and chief analyst of BoxOffice.com, Phil Contrino, and it's his prediction that sees Transformers: Age Of Extinction crossing the $100 million mark within its first three days. His reasoning?
"The market is wide open for a big hit and the brand recognition of the [Transformers] franchise is pretty staggering. Even if it doesn’t win the summer or the year at the domestic box office, its overseas potential is huge and that’s the name of the game."
Considering that Transformers: Age Of Extinction is opening both in the U.S and China this weekend, it's a prediction that's not terribly far off. The two biggest film markets in the same weekend, with both possessing similar market saturation of the Transformers brand can only spell massive bank for the Michael Bay-helmed franchise. In cases like this, past performance is a key metric to predicting the future of a brand, and if we hope to have a clearer picture of what's to come, it would be wise to look at the last three films and their openings.
Judging by the opening weekends for all three Transformers movies, it would appear that the brand is in a state of decline. Transformers opened with a solid $70.5 million of pure nostalgic value, while Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen brought the franchise to its current highest opening weekend of $109 million. Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, however, opened with a slightly worse $98 million take its first weekend. With middling reviews and an extra year between this installment and the last, it might be a safer bet to put Transformers: Age Of Extinction down for an opening in the high $90 million range.
One last thing to keep in mind is the number Transformers: Age Of Extinction is going to want to set its sights on in order to make a profit. Given Transformers: Age Of Extinction's estimated budget of $165 million, the film should aim for the amount of $247.5 million to beat the budget and a half multiplier that is typically seen as the standard for box office success in Hollywood (after factoring marketing costs and what not). If you're betting on whether the film will make its budget back, you're making the safest bet you ever could by saying yes.