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Towering over all other films, the third Transformers installment debuted to an estimated $116.4M over the extended Friday-to-Monday holiday period and a colossal $181.1M since its launch on Tuesday night with 9pm previews. The Friday-to-Sunday portion was $97.5M. That was good enough to break the seven-year-old records for this holiday set in 2004 by the highly anticipated superhero sequel Spider-Man 2 which bowed to $88.2M over the Friday-to-Sunday span and $115.8M over the Friday-to-Monday period. Taking out the $5.5M that Optimus Prime brought in from Tuesday night sneaks, the actual Wednesday-to-Sunday tally for the robots was $156.7M. The Spidey pic sold more tickets though as Transformers enjoyed a big jump in 2D prices plus 3D surcharges.
This weekend, two new releases opened big as Pixar's 3D animated sequel Cars 2 and the raunchy Cameron Diaz comedy Bad Teacher both excited their target audiences pumping in nearly $100M worth of ticket sales at the North American box office. Scoring its twelfth number one hit, Pixar's Cars 2 finished in first place by a mile with an estimated $68M. Meanwhile, Cameron Diaz enjoyed one of the best openings of her career with the raunchy school comedy Bad Teacher which powered well ahead of expectations to debut to an estimated $31M.
The super hero summer continued with the third comic book film of the season debuting at number one as Green Lantern shot to the top of the box office with a less-than-stellar opening weekend of $52.7M, according to studio estimates. The pricey Warner Bros. release averaged $13,806 from 3,816 theaters including ones offering the PG-13 film in 3D with extra surcharges. Although the amount of the weekend take would be welcomed by most films, Lantern carried a reported pricetag of about $200M plus was backed by one of the most expensive marketing campaigns of any summer movie so far.
This weekend Fox rebooted its mutant super hero franchise and scored a top spot launch with the comic book pic X-Men: First Class which stood as the frame's only new wide release. The PG-13 film debuted to an estimated $56M over the weekend from 3,641 theaters for a solid $15,380 average. It was in line with other Marvel super hero films of the same type, most notably 2008's reboot The Incredible Hulk which debuted to $55.4M in June of that summer. Both followed films that were widely disliked and featured new directors, cast, and storylines in hopes of winning back fans.
This weekend, North American moviegoers stormed their local megaplexes as the four-day Memorial Day holiday frame set a new record led by strong openings for a pair of Asian-set sequels. The highly-anticipated comedy The Hangover Part II registered a scorching launch while the animated pic Kung Fu Panda 2 enjoyed a solid start of its own. The adventure tentpole Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides suffered a big drop in its second weekend but still contributed large numbers in third place as the summer of sequels drew massive numbers of ticket buyers into theaters making for the biggest weekend in a year and a half.
Johnny Depp and his jolly pals seized control of the North American box office with the adventure tentpole Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides which registered the year's biggest opening while internationally the latest Captain Jack saga commanded much more power smashing records with the largest overseas opening of all-time. Most holdovers suffered large drops, however the hit comedy Bridesmaids took advantage of sensational buzz to post a fantastic hold putting it on track to break the $100M mark.
The super hero adventure Thor held firmly to the number one spot in its second weekend with a solid hold while the raunchy comedy Bridesmaids scored an impressive debut in second place. April's Brazil-set blockbusters Fast Five and Rio both remained in the top five thanks to good legs while the new 3D thriller Priest debuted in fourth with moderate results. Overall ticket sales were only slightly off from last year's red hot frame.
This weekend, the latest super hero from the Marvel vault made his debut on the silver screen as Thor soared to a number one opening in North America. The sequel Fast Five fell sharply but finished in second with a hefty take of its own as both films continued to fight it out across the global box office. Rival wedding comedies battled it out for third place with the black-led Jumping the Broom edging out the white-led Something Borrowed despite playing in 900 fewer theaters. But the overall marketplace could not match up to last year's frame which saw a gargantuan bow from a bigger comic book avenger -- Iron Man 2.
Doubling its nearest competitor, the effects-driven super hero flick Thor bowed on top with an estimated $66M from 3,955 locations for a muscular $16,688 average.
This weekend, the summer movie season got off to an early and explosive start with the record-breaking debut of the action sequel Fast Five which raced to the top of the North American box office with an opening that was miles ahead of any other film's from this year. But the two other new offerings were flat out rejected by ticket buyers as the high school comedy Prom and the 3D toon Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil sparked no interest from audiences. Overall ticket sales were up sharply versus last year which came as great news for the industry which is trying desperately to generate momentum going into the potent month of May.
This weekend, the angry and not-so-angry birds of the 3D animated smash Rio held onto the top spot at the North American box office for a second weekend in a row. Results for the Easter frame's three new releases were good as the Tyler Perry comedy Madea's Big Happy Family, the circus romance Water for Elephants, and the nature documentary African Cats all connected with their respective audiences. Ticket sales for the Top 20 were up a sharp 40% from a year ago which was not a holiday session, but down a troubling 23% from 2010's record Easter weekend. Most holdovers did remain strong though.
This weekend Universal's hit kidpic Hop became the first film of 2011 to spend back-to-back weeks at number one as the bunny pic fended off competition from four new wide releases to remain the most popular film in North America. Its star Russell Brand also claimed second place with his comedy remake Arthur making the British comedian that rare star to hold the top two spots at the box office. The frame's other debuting titles had mixed results with the teen girl-led films Hanna and Soul Surfer faring well while the raunchy fantasy comedy Your Highness failed to make much of a splash. As usual, the overall box office was down by double digits compared to last year.
New releases all fared well as the April box office kicked off with the Easter-themed hit Hop which powered its way to number one playing well to family audiences. Older adults drove the action thriller Source Code to a second place debut while fright fans lined up for the new horror pic Insidious which finished in third. But overall ticket sales continued to struggle as last year's top four films alone grossed more than all films this weekend combined.
The paranoia-fueled action thriller Limitless led a trio of new releases and opened at number one with a sturdy debut. The crime drama The Lincoln Lawyer and the road comedy Paul both attracted respectable business landing in the top five but the overall marketplace once again failed to match up to last year's levels.
This weekend Sony ruled the North American box office with its fourth number one opening of the year as the alien invasion thriller Battle: Los Angeles debuted on top attracting a sizable action crowd. The stylish fairy tale pic Red Riding Hood bowed in third grossing less than expected while the animated adventure Mars Needs Moms struggled to find families with a poor launch in fifth place. The overall marketplace continued to fall behind year-ago levels as the entire weekend box office for all films in release fell below the top ten from last year.
This weekend, three new releases targeting different audience segments successfully connected with their crowds and took the top spots at the North American box office. Leading the way with older kids and families was Johnny Depp's animated comedy Rango followed by Matt Damon's sci-fi romance thriller The Adjustment Bureau which played to mature adults. Debuting in third was the romance Beastly which catered to teen girls. The weekend's fourth new release, the raunchy 80s comedy Take Me Home Tonight, opened poorly just outside of the top ten.
This weekend, distracted by Oscar hoopla, Hollywood studios tossed unimpressive new films into North American multiplexes which failed to excite moviegoers who instead drove the three-week old animated hit Gnomeo & Juliet into first place. The Owen Wilson comedy Hall Pass stumbled into second place during its opening weekend while Nicolas Cage's latest action effort Drive Angry crashed and burned with an embarrassing ninth place debut for the actor who won an Oscar 15 years ago this spring.
Liam Neeson's latest European-set single-word-titled action thriller Unknown debuted at number one over the long four-day Presidents' Day frame while the hit 3D toon Gnomeo & Juliet gave the Oscar-nominated star a run for his money thanks to terrific staying power that allowed it to follow close behind in second. The sci-fi alien flick I Am Number Four debuted in third place while fellow newcomer Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son launched in fifth with each averaging roughly $7,000. Overall ticket sales fell behind the same holiday frames from the last two years. It was the first Presidents' Day weekend in five years with no films breaking $30M.
Comedy king Adam Sandler and pop prince Justin Bieber fought over the North American box office crown with the funnyman winning a narrow victory according to studio estimates. Still, his comedy Just Go With It and the 3D concert flick Justin Bieber: Never Say Never each pulled in over $30M and were joined by the 3D animated film Gnomeo & Juliet which exceeded expectations to power the marketplace to its best showing of 2011.