Transformers turns into box office behemoth with US$100 million opening

A 20 foot-tall Optimus Prime figure is surrounded by journalists before the world premiere of Hollywood movie Transformers 4 in Hong Kong on June 19, 2014. Transformers: Age Of Extinction, the fourth in the series of films about form-changing Au
A 20 foot-tall Optimus Prime figure is surrounded by journalists before the world premiere of Hollywood movie Transformers 4 in Hong Kong on June 19, 2014. Transformers: Age Of Extinction, the fourth in the series of films about form-changing Autobot robots that save the planet, powered up with US$100 million (S$125 million) in box office sales, jump-starting a sleepy summer with the year's biggest opening weekend. -- PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Transformers: Age Of Extinction, the fourth in the series of films about form-changing Autobot robots that save the planet, powered up with US$100 million (S$125 million) in box office sales, jump-starting a sleepy summer with the year's biggest opening weekend.

22 Jump Street, starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, was second with US$15.4 million in its third week in theatres, according to studio estimates. Animated film How To Train Your Dragon 2 took the No. 3 spot with sales of US$13.1 million for the Friday through Sunday period at US and Canadian theatres.

Transformers: Age Of Extinction stars Mark Wahlberg in his first outing taking on the evil Dinobots. The series' three previous instalments, starring Shia LeBeouf, generated nearly US$2.7 billion in worldwide sales, according to Box Office Mojo.

"It's just a spectacular result," said Don Harris, president of domestic theatrical distribution for Paramount.

The film took in more than US$200 million overseas, an indication of "what a beloved franchise this is worldwide," Harris added, crediting director Michael Bay who helmed all four instalments. Transformers added another US$10.7 million on domestic Imax screens and US$16.6 million internationally.

Made for more than US$200 million, the film pits Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and other Autobots against new villains. It met industry projections for its opening weekend.

The nearly three-hour movie garnered mostly poor reviews, with only 17 per cent of 121 critics giving it a "fresh" rating, according to the site Rotten Tomatoes, but ticket buyers gave the film an A- rating according to polling service CinemaScore.

Prior to the opening of Transformers, summer ticket sales had lagged last year by 15 per cent, according to the box office tracking site Rentrak, when blockbusters such as Iron Man 3, Monsters University, and Fast & Furious 6 drove ticket sales.

Last weekend's box office leader Think Like A Man Too, a comedy starring Kevin Hart based on TV personality Steve Harvey's book Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man, was fourth with US$10.4 million.

Maleficent, Walt Disney Co's revision of its 1959 movie Sleeping Beauty starring Angelina Jolie as a spell-casting evil fairy, rounded out the top five with US$8.2 million and has totalled more than US$200 million since opening on May 30.

Transformers: Age Of Extinction was distributed by Paramount, a unit of Viacom Inc. Sony Corp released 22 Jump Street and Think Like A Man Too.