It’s the end of the 4th of July weekend but the skies and screens were ablaze with fireworks for the holiday and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.  The third Autobots vs Decepticons movie transformed the box office landscape, domestically and internationally, and blew away the competition with no surprise.  Cars 2 ($31.629 million) and Bad Teacher ($17.261 million) each fell one spot from #1 and #2 to #2 and #3, respectively, after an excellent debut at the box office the weekend before.  The two movies, along with Super 8, were able to mobilize audiences into boosting their total grosses and beating out new movies, #4 Larry Crowne ($16.098 million) and #6 Monte Carlo ($8.588 million).  Meanwhile, superhero sequels Green Lantern and X-Men: First Class tumbled furthered into box office oblivion.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon celebrated Independence Day by landing at #1 with $115.886 million, $180.651 million over six days since the sequel’s premiere. With the highest grossing opening weekend of the year, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides comes in second with $90.151 million, the Michael Bay movie surpassed both Transformers ($70.502 million) and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ($108.966 million).  Though the number of theatergoers is down from the first two movies, seats were still mostly filled by males (62%) under 25 years old (55%) at 4,013 theaters in the US and Canada.  As of late, 3D has been on a downtrend and successful summer movies like Cars 2 and Pirates 4 have been unsuccessful with only an opening of 40% but Dark of the Moon hit 60%; Bay once thought 3D was a “gimmick” yet developed a love/hate relationship with the technology on this film.  Internationally, it did one better with 70%.  The third installment of the series premiered in 58 markets overseas, and broke opening weekend records in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and South Korea, where it did best with an estimated $28 million.  Russia was the movie’s second best stop at an estimated $22 million, and Red Square was also the site of the premiere and a Linkin Park concert (the band`s `Iridescent`is the feature song on the soundtrack).  The sci-fi, action film swapped top foreign box office spots with On Stranger Tides ($260.4 million) as it was second to the swashbuckling movie in international opening weekend for 2011 with $237.359 million.

Super 8 was still super with audiences with just a single spot drop to #5.  The J.J. Abrams-directed & Steven Spielberg-produced film only had a -20.8% change to gross $9.527 million over the four-day weekend, increasing its total domestic gross to $110.07 million.  The sci-fi thriller has, over four weekends, grossed $155.07 million worldwide.

Last week’s #3 Green Lantern is this week’s #7 Green Lantern.  The first Green Lantern from Earth had the largest negative percent change at -56% and was able to add only $7.928 million to its now $136.916 million worldwide, a rapid descent from the previous three-day weekend of $18.028 million.  With Green Lantern‘s current rank at the box office and limited release overseas, Hal Jordan’s alter ego will have much difficulty in reaching the movie’s estimated $200 million budget.

Like the DC Comics superhero, the Marvel prequel of X-Men: First Class also fell several spots from #6 to #11, knocked out of the top ten by Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris.  Although it garnered $3.617 million over the holiday, the movie has faired well over the five weekends until now.  Its worldwide gross of $335.029 million is still shy of the $373.062 million of prequel X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Check out ‘What To Watch – Theater Edition’ this Friday for this week’s new movie releases…the past has everything to do with the future.

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