This weekend is one of the slowest of the year, with only one new theatrical release attempting to compete with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. In the short term, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts has been a success since it was able to beat the Marvel animated film from its number one spot and gross over $60.5 million in its opening weekend, whilst Across the Spider-Verse dropped at 54% with a very good hold and a $55.4 million tally.
Another Marvel movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3, reached the $800 million club this weekend, and Across the Spider-Verse has already made more than $389 million at the global box office. To say that “superhero movies are dead” is missing the point entirely, but I will not reignite the discussion again, even if The Flash underperforms next week. Many factors could cause The Flash to underperform. Most of them have to do with external events and not necessarily with the current state of superhero movies as a whole.
But let’s go back to Transformers because the state of this franchise seems far more interesting to analyze than superhero movies, which will always exist. Regardless of what you thought of the Michael Bay movies, the first four installments of that franchise were extremely profitable and made tons of money despite awful reviews. Transformers: Age of Extinction has an 18% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and made $1.104 billion! However, when Transformers: The Last Knight was released, and critics said it was more of the same, audiences were checked out of Bayhem, and the film bombed at the box office.
Bumblebee didn’t do as well as the first Transformers film, though it was considered a bigger success than The Last Knight thanks to its overwhelming critical praise and positive word-of-mouth from audiences. Now, we’re on to the seventh installment, which saw one of the lowest grosses of the franchise so far, though not as low as Bumblebee and The Last Knight. Some will say it’s a major improvement over the past two movies’ opening weekends (Bumblebee opened at $21 million, whilst The Last Knight opened at $44 million). However, the elephant in the room still stands.
The Transformers franchise doesn’t have the same stranglehold as it had on blockbuster culture or as superhero movies currently do. Paramount may greenlight the two planned sequels, and they could reach bigger numbers than Rise of the Beasts, but I have a feeling that its second-week gross will drop much quicker than Across the Spider-Verse, Fast X, and The Little Mermaid did. In this economy, it’s extremely hard to predict what can be considered a box office success since movies are released on VOD much quicker than before the COVID times (Fast X is now available on VOD, three weeks after its theatrical release!).
However, I don’t believe that legs will carry Rise of the Beasts in the long term. Next week, we’ve got The Flash and Elemental, two massive studio productions. Then there’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning: Part One, Oppenheimer and Barbie, which have much more considerable anticipation than Transformers. We’ve got a very competitive summer on our hands, and it has just begun.
Here’s the full list of the top ten films of the week:
- Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (Paramount): $60.5M – 3,678 theatres
- Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Sony/Marvel): $55.4M (-54.1%) – 4,332 theatres
- The Litle Mermaid (Disney): $22.7M (-44.9%) – 4,320 theatres
- Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 (Disney): $7.0M (-34.2%) – 3,175 theatres
- The Boogeyman (Disney): $6.9M (-44%) – 3,205 theatres
- Fast X (Universal): $5.1M (-46.1%) – 2,822 theatres
- The Super Mario Bros. Movie (Universal): $2.1M (-37.1%) – 1,789 theatres
- About My Father (Lionsgate): $845.000 (-58.9%) – 960 theatres
- The Machine (Sony): $575.000 (-66.6%) – 1,008 theatres
- Past Lives (A24): $520.772 (+124.2%) – 26 theatres
Source: Box Office Mojo