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Hey, remember when Michael Bay gave the Transformers franchise a facelift, and the fourth installment opened to a jaw-dropping $100 million during its first weekend? Probably. That just happened this past weekend, but if executives from the studios not named Paramount Pictures are to be believed, it didn’t actually happen at all. Many of them have started speaking off the record and telling all who will listen that their competitor cooked the books in order to achieve that milestone.
Anyway you look at it, Transformers: Age Of Extinction is a massive hit. The franchise’s biggest fans and even some of its detractors trekked to their local theaters this weekend to take in the action. According to Yahoo, however, pretty much every box office tracking service slotted the film at somewhere between $97.5 and $98.5 million. Obviously, estimating weekend totals is an inexact science, but over the past few years, studios have gotten really, really good at counting not only their own numbers but also their competitors. Because of that, it’s very rare to see Sunday night/ Monday numbers being reported that are more than $1.5 million off. That’s exactly what happened here, though.
The exact figure Paramount Pictures reported was $100.038 million for the weekend. Maybe that’s exactly what the film earned. Maybe it’s a slight overestimation. Either way, the nice round number is probably good for investors. Many outsiders were looking at that number prior to the weekend as the best possible gauge as to whether or not the film was over or under performing. The film itself should turn a healthy profit for the studio, of course, but executives and industry analysts wanted to see Transformers 4 do enough business to course correct for some of the movies that underperformed for Paramount Pictures in 2014 like Jack Ryan and Labor Day. No offense to either, but they weren’t exactly dreams come true monetarily.
Regardless, Transformers 4 earned enough money to allow Michael Bay to continue shepherding the franchise into whatever direction he sees fit. In fact, the studio wants him to go down the road again in 2016. That might not be as exciting to some fans as him making something similar to The Rock or Pain And Gain, but it’s certainly a more exciting proposition for his wallet.
Whether or not we get a resolution to the budding Transformers: Age of Extinction box office controversy likely depends on how hard studios and members of the media push. If this story fails to gain any traction, it’ll simply slide away as quietly as it came in. If it turns into a weird news item of the week kind of thing, we may see Paramount release a statement. We’ll keep you updated.