Paramount's Transformers: Dark of the Moon opened with $37.73 million on Wednesday. When including Tuesday's preview grosses of $5.5 million, the film's current total stands at $43.23 million. That places the third installment of the popular sci-fi action franchise 30 percent below the $62.02 million opening day performance of 2009's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which didn't have the added benefit of 3D surcharges. Dark of the Moon did open 18 percent ahead of the $36.65 million grossed by 2007's Transformers through its first full day of release (which like Dark of the Moon, included sneak preview grosses from the previous evening), but obviously the original Transformers didn't have the same opening day rush-out advantage that a sequel would have. The $37.73 million grossed by Dark of the Moon on Wednesday represented the largest opening day gross of 2011 to date, topping the $34.86 million debut of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
3D grosses accounted for 60 percent of the opening day gross of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which is a positive sign for the film going forward, especially given the downturn in 3D grosses this summer. Opening the film in 3D locations on Tuesday night appears to have worked nicely in generating early buzz for the 3D version of the film. Opening day audience breakdowns for Dark of the Moon were 62 percent male, 38 percent female, 55 percent under 25 and 45 percent over 25.
With Dark of the Moon having opened significantly below the opening day performance of Revenge of the Fallen, it will obviously be hoping to hold up better than Revenge of the Fallen going forward. With this in mind, the daily performances of Dark of the Moon today and Friday will be especially important. The film did earn an A on CinemaScore from opening day audiences, which is a very promising early sign. Check back throughout the weekend for further updates on the box office progress of Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
Cars 2 fell 22 percent and one spot from Tuesday to claim second on Wednesday with $5.54 million. With the added presence of Transformers in the marketplace, daily declines for holdovers on Wednesday were sharp in general. Cars 2 has grossed $85.72 million through six days of release. That places the expensive sequel from Disney and Pixar 10 percent ahead of the pace of 2006's Cars and 1 percent behind the pace of 2008's WALL-E (neither of which had the aid of 3D surcharges). Cars 2 isn't holding up all that well by Pixar's lofty standards, but is still set to zoom well beyond the $100 million domestic mark over the holiday weekend.
Sony's Bad Teacher fell 24 percent and one spot to take third on Wednesday with $2.98 million. The R-rated comedy starring Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake and Jason Segel continues to outpace expectations with an impressive six-day start of $42.51 million. Bad Teacher is currently running 10.5 percent ahead of the pace of 2009's The Ugly Truth and 2 percent behind the pace of 2008's Step Brothers.
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Additional reporting by Phil Contrino.