Box Office Guru Wrapup: Transformers Leads Sluggish Holiday Frame

The Independence Day holiday session was lacking in box office fireworks as the Autobots tentpole Transformers: Age of Extinction led the marketplace for a second straight time while new releases brought one good debut and a handful of lackluster ones that paying audiences were mostly uninterested in.

The Paramount four-quel tumbled hard in its sophomore session, by 64%, and grossed an estimated $36.4M to boost the cume up to $174.7M. That puts the Michael Bay actioner on track to finish its domestic run in the vicinity of $275M making it the lowest-grossing installment of the series.

But overseas, the picture continues to shine with an estimated $95.8M weekend from 37 markets lifting the international total to a stunning $400.9M. Extinction is running an impressive 21% ahead of the last film Dark of the Moon in the same markets after the same number of days proving again how important foreign markets are for aging franchises. China accounts for more than half of the overseas take with a mind-blowing $212.8M which is 22% higher than the current domestic tally. Worldwide stands at $575.6M with a large number of top territories still to open after the World Cup.

The new Melissa McCarthy comedy Tammy opened far back in second place with an estimated $21.2M over the Friday-to-Sunday period and $32.9M since its launch on Tuesday night. The R-rated film was slammed by critics as being unfunny but instead was hoping to connect with average moviegoers over the long weekend. Given the heat the star carried into the release thanks to all her success last year, it was a rather uneventful launch. Luckily the Warner Bros. release did not cost too much.

The five-day holiday figure came close to the three-day non-holiday $34.6M opening of McCarthy's hit Identity Thief and below the $39.1M of her summer smash The Heat. Both opened last year and positioned the actress as one of the most popular comedy stars of today, male or female. But the same rules of the movie industry apply to all - audiences will keep coming unless you don't make a good product.

Sony launched the new fright flick Deliver Us From Evil and audience turnout was the same as for most films of the genre all year long - unimpressive. The R-rated pic from former super-producer Jerry Bruckheimer opened to an estimated $9.5M from 3,049 locations for a lackluster $3,116 average. Total since Wednesday is just $15M. 2014 has certainly been a horrible year for horror. Still in the top five was the buddy cop smash 22 Jump Street with an estimated $9.4M, off 41%, for a new cume of $158.9M for the studio.

Also in its fourth weekend, the toon sequel How to Train Your Dragon 2 grossed an estimated $8.8M which was down just 34% helped by the holiday. The Fox release has banked $140M to date. Rival kidpic Earth to Echo debuted with an estimated $8.3M from 3,230 theaters for a mild $2,554 average. The PG-rated sci-fi film for tweens struggled to capture its audience although Relativity is hoping that students on summer vacation will continue to find the film in the weeks to come. Cume since its Wednesday start is $13.5M.

The smash hit Maleficent eased only 27% in its sixth round to an estimated $6.1M for Disney. Domestic climbed to $213.9M while the worldwide tally soared to $630.2M. Older audiences came out for the Clint Eastwood film Jersey Boys which slipped only 33% to an estimated $5.2M for a new total of $36.7M for Warner Bros.

Think Like A Man Too fell another 53% in its third weekend to an estimated $4.9M putting Sony at $57.2M to date. Tom Cruise's latest sci-fi thriller Edge of Tomorrow rounded out the top ten with an estimated $3.6M, down 33%, for a $90.9M domestic cume surpassing last year's Oblivion.

Lionsgate generated a soft debut for its documentary America which bowed to only $2.7M from 1,105 theaters for a weak $2,466 average per site. The 5-day wide opening was $4M and reviews were mostly negative. However, the CinemaScore grade was a terrific A+.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $113.3M which was down a troubling 48% from last year when Despicable Me 2 opened at number one with $83.5M; and down 36% from 2012 when The Amazing Spider-Man debuted on top with $62M.

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