‘Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’ Leads a Sunny Summer Box Office Weekend

A better-than-expected showing for “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” (Paramount) is only one reason why this is a good box-office weekend. The expensive Hasbro toy franchise ($200 million before marketing) grossed $110 million overseas, above its $60.5 million domestic take. Greater international strength was expected, and needed: It will need well over $500 million worldwide to cover its costs and there’s intense competition ahead,starting with Warner Bros. Discovery’s “The Flash” June 16.

If summer 2023 has a shot at the hoped-for $4 billion (six weekends in, it’s on par with with last summer’s $3.4 billion), films like “Transformers” need robust openings. Stage two is sustaining strong runs.

That’s what #2 “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (Sony) and #3 “The Little Mermaid” (Disney) did to buttress the weekend. The Marvel animated film, faced with the loss of most of its premium screens and “Transformers” competition, grossed more than $55 million this weekend. Ten days in, it’s already has bested the original “Spider-Verse” and stands at $225 million domestic, $377 million worldwide.

Scuttle (voiced by Awkwafina), Flounder (voiced by Jacob Tremblay), and Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” DISNEY

“Mermaid” fell 45 percent in its third weekend, bringing it to $229 million domestic. Similar to “Spider-Verse,” foreign lags behind at $185 million. That’s problematic on a $250 million budget, but its domestic performance remains impressive.

“The Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3” and “The Boogeyman” (both Disney) and “Fast X” and “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” (both Universal) all dropped less than 50 percent. Still, at this time of year the #4 film should be grossing over $10 million. On this weekend in 2019, “Rocket Man” was in its second week as the #5 film with a gross of nearly $14 million. The summer needs multiple films with eight-figure weekends.

With only 26 theaters, “Past Lives” (A24) made the top 10. Its $520,000 gross/$20,000 per-theater average is the best second-week expansion since “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Even more impressive is this film features a first-time director, no star names, and chose to open outside the awards season. As it adds theaters in the next two weeks, “Past Lives” is positioned to clear the $10 million mark most 2023 Oscar contenders struggled to exceed.

Next Friday sees Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City” (Focus) open in six theaters. That will be a litmus test for the recovery of specialized releases.

“Squaring the Circle”Utopia/Brigade

The best platform opening was Anton Corbijn’s documentary “Squaring the Circle” (The Story of Hipgnosis) from Utopia. With event shows Friday boosting the response, it grossed $10,011 at New York’s Film Forum. Los Angeles opens next week and a national release will quickly follow.

Compared to 2022, which saw “Jurassic World: Dominion” open to $145 million, this weekend’s total of $165 million was down $50 million, or 23 percent. That’s on par with 2019. Year to date, box-office performance is 25 percent above last year and on a full-year basis that would translate to $9.25 billion. The four-week rolling comparison to 2019 rises to a terrific 98 percent, although the year-to-date figure is much lower.

The Top 10

1. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (Paramount) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 42; Est. budget: $200 million

$60,500,000 in 3,678 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $16,449; Cumulative: $60,500,000

2. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Sony) Week 2; Last weekend #1

$55,425,000 (-54%) in 4,332 (+19) theaters; PTA: $12,794; Cumulative: $225,446,000

3. The Little Mermaid (Disney) Week 3; Last weekend #2

$22,790,000 (-45%) in 4,320 theaters (no change); PTA: $5,275; Cumulative: $228,810,000

4. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (Disney) Week 7; Last weekend #4

$7,028,000 (-34%) in 3,175 (-405) theaters; PTA: $2,214; Cumulative: $335,401,000

5. The Boogeyman (Disney) Week 2; Last weekend #3

$6,917,000 (-44%) in 3,205 (no change) theaters; PTA: $2,158; Cumulative: $24,738,000

6. Fast X (Universal) Week 4; Last weekend #5; also on PVOD

$5,200,000 (-46%) in 2,822 (-645) theaters; PTA: $1,843; Cumulative: $138,127,000

7. The Super Mario Bros. Movie (Universal) Week 10; Last weekend #6; also on PVOD

$2,120,000 (-37%) in 1,789 (-565) theaters; PTA: $1,185; Cumulative: $570,163,000

8. About My Father (Lionsgate) Week 3; Last weekend #7

$845,000 (-59%) in (-1,504) theaters; PTA: $880; Cumulative: $10,762,000

9. The Machine (Sony) Week 3; Last weekend #8

$575,000 (-67%) in (-1,401) theaters; PTA: $1,401; Cumulative: $10,096,000

10. Past Lives (A24) Week 2; Last weekend #12

$520,772 (+124%) in 26 (+22) theaters; PTA: $20,030; Cumulative: $857,097

Other specialized titles

Films (limited, expansions of limited, as well as awards-oriented releases) are listed by week in release, starting with those opened this week; after the first two weeks, only films with grosses over $5,000 are listed.

Mending the Line (Blue Fox) NEW – Metacritic:; Festivals include: San Diego 2022

$225,569 in 403 theaters; PTA: $560

The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster (IFC) NEW – Metacritic: 59; Festivals include: South by Southwest 2023

$50,000 in 56 theaters; PTA: $890

Squaring the Circle (The Story of Hipgnosis) (Utopia) NEW – Metacritic: 76; Festivals include: Telluride 2022, Sundance 2023

$10,011 in 1 theater; PTA: $10,011

Scarlet (Kino Lorber) NEW – Metacritic: 72; Festivals include: Cannes, New York 2022

$8,176 in 2 theaters; PTA: $4,088

The Roundup: No Way Out (Blue Fox) Week 2

$155,674 in 28 (-13) theaters; PTA: $5,560; Cumulative: $481,277

You Hurt My Feelings (A24) Week 3

$417,454 (-%) in 427 (-485) theaters; Cumulative: $3,810,000

Sanctuary (Neon) Week 4

$60,000 in 186 (-39) theaters; Cumulative: $484,532

Book Club: The Next Chapter (Focus) Week 4; also on PVOD

$115,000 in 208 (-174) theaters; Cumulative: $17,390,000

BlackBerry (IFC) Week 4; also on VOD

$(U.S. only) 20,000 in 36 (-19) theaters; Cumulative: $1,427,000

It Ain’t Over (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5

$37,681 in 61 (+22) theaters; Cumulative: $458,920

Chevalier (Searchlight) Week 8; also on PVOD

$35,000 in 218 (+138) theaters; Cumulative: $3,510,000

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