It hasn't been a great week for Michael Bay's Transformers: The Last Knight here in the United States. The movie has not only received the worst reviews of the entire franchise (a fairly impressive feat, all things considered), but it's also on pace to have the worst domestic opening of the five films released so far. This would be pretty awful news if the blockbuster were just coming out in the U.S., but the good news for the sci-fi franchise is still having no problem finding an audience in China. Transformers 5 just debuted in the country to the fourth biggest opening day in the country's cinematic history.
Variety has the international numbers and is reporting that the film made $41 million during its Friday debut in China. For comparison, that's more than two-thirds of what the movie is expected to make in its first five days in the United States (estimates point at a $60 million take). Only the last two Fast & Furious movies as well as Journey To The West made more in their opening frame, and the number actually jumps when you include the extra $6 million that Transformers: The Last Knight made during Thursday night screenings.
For those who keep a close eye on box office matters, this probably isn't the most surprising news. While Michael Bay's films about robots in disguise used to be major hits here in the United States, the franchise's domestic status has been declining in recent years while the money from elsewhere has become much more significant. By the end of its U.S. run, 2014's Transformers: Age of Extinction couldn't top $250 million, but it's one of only two movies in the series to make more than a billion dollars worldwide thanks to nearly 78 percent of the money coming from overseas markets. Transformers: The Last Knight isn't expected to make as much money in China as its predecessor (estimated to pull in $290 million versus Transformers 4's $320 million), but that money should be more than enough to keep the series going for the foreseeable future.
Of course, this is significant because Paramount Pictures has some very big plans in the works for Transformers. Rather than just continuing with normal sequels, there is a plan in the works to craft a Marvel-esque Transformers Cinematic Universe that will see characters like Bumblebee get their own spin-off titles. These projects could wind up changing the course of the franchise, as they will be bringing in new creatives and could perhaps reignite some domestic excitement, but even if these movies don't wind up making as much money in the United States as the studio wants, it seems they can still bank on plenty of profits from international audiences.
Transformers: The Last Knight is in theaters worldwide now, and we will keep you updated on its box office performance throughout the weekend here on CinemaBlend!