Box office hits and misses: ‘Transformers’ struggles while ‘Wonder Woman’ stays strong

box office transformers the last knight

After a string of critically questionable but financially successful installments, Michael Bay’s live-action Transformers franchise is finally starting to show some rust with Transformers: The Last Knight.

The fifth chapter of the blockbuster series — which has collectively earned almost $1.4 billion in U.S. theaters and more than $4 billion worldwide so far — had the weakest debut of the live-action franchise up to this point.

Despite premiering on a Wednesday, The Last Knight still failed to cross the $100 million mark across its five-day debut, and generated just $45.3 million domestically over its first three-day weekend. Both numbers are well below the previous low marks for the series domestically, and aligned with a similarly low grade from audiences and critics, which gave the film a relatively low “B+” grade (the same grade as 2009’s maligned Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) and a mere 15-percent approval rating, respectively.

For the sake of comparison, 2011’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon also opened on a Wednesday, but earned $97.8 million for its first three-day weekend and $162.6 million over the first five days it was in theaters.

Continuing a trend we’ve seen quite often lately, there’s still some hope for The Last Knight internationally. On its way to earning an estimated $196.2 million outside the U.S., The Last Knight brought in more than $123.4 million from China alone, the largest premiere for any Transformers film so far in the world’s second-largest market.

# Title Weekend U.S. Total Worldwide Total
1. Transformers: The Last Knight $45.3M $69.1M $265.2M
2. Cars 3 $25.1M $99.8M $141.2M
3. Wonder Woman $25.1M $318.3M $652.8M
4. 47 Meters Down $7.4M $24.2M $24.2M
5. All Eyez On Me $5.8M $38.6M $38.6M
6. The Mummy $5.8M $68.5M $342.1M
7. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales $5.2M $160M $677.8M
8. Rough Night $4.7M $16.6M $24.2M
9. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie $4.2M $65.7M $71.9M
10. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 $3M $380.2M $851.2M

As for the rest of the weekend’s movies, Cars 3 and Wonder Woman ended up in a tie for second place based on early estimates of the two films’ box-office numbers. The final tally won’t be official until later in the week, but the estimates offer both good and bad news for the projects involved.

Pixar’s animated sequel Cars 3 is now expected to end its run just ahead of the worst-performing film in the studio’s history, 2015’s The Good Dinosaur. It’s a disappointing finish for what was once one of Pixar’s most successful franchises.

As for Wonder Woman, the celebrated solo adventure of the DC Comics superheroine is now on pace to become the highest-grossing film in Warner Bros. Pictures’ DC Extended Universe domestically. The film has already earned more than all three of the prior films in the franchise had earned in U.S. theaters at this point in their runs, and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

There weren’t any other major releases that factored into the weekend’s highest-grossing films, but the upcoming week is likely to bring a few new additions to the top ten.

Universal Pictures’ animated sequel Despicable Me 3 is expected to take the box-office crown, but this week also brings to theaters director Edgar Wright’s much-anticipated, high-octane heist film Baby Driver and the potent comedy duo of Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler in the The House.