TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTS, Optimus Primal (voice: Ron Perlman), 2023. © Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

‘Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’ leads a sunny weekend at the summer box office

A better-than-expected show for “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” (Paramount) is just one reason why this is a good weekend at the box office. The expensive Hasbro toy franchise ($200 million before marketing) grossed $110 million overseas, on top of $60.5 million in domestic revenue. More international strength was expected and needed: Well over $500 million worldwide will be needed to cover its costs, and there is intense competition ahead, starting with Warner Bros. Discovery’s ‘The Flash’ on June 16 .

If Summer 2023 has a shot at its hoped-for $4 billion (six weekends later, it’s on par with last summer’s $3.4 billion), films like “Transformers” need solid openings. Phase two is supporting strong racing.

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

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(LR): Scuttle (voiced by Awkwafina), Flounder (voiced by Jacob Tremblay) and Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney's live-action THE LITTLE MERMAID.  Photo courtesy of Disney.  © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.
Scuttle (voiced by Awkwafina), Flounder (voiced by Jacob Tremblay) and Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”. DISNEY

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

“Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3” and “The Boogeyman” (both Disney) and “Fast X” and “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” (both Universal) are all down less than 50%. However, this time of year the No. 4 is expected to gross over $10 million. As of this weekend of 2019, “Rocket Man” was in its second week as the No. 5 film grossing nearly $14 million. Summer needs more movies with weekends in the eight figure.

With just 26 theaters, ‘Past Lives’ (A24) cracked 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 that this film features a first-time director, with no star names, and chose to open outside of awards season. As it adds salt over the next couple of weeks, ‘Past Lives’ is positioned to cross the $10 million mark that most 2023 Oscar contenders have struggled to cross.

Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City” (Focus) opens in six theaters next Friday. It will be a litmus test for the recovery of specialized publications.

Transformers Rise of the Beasts leads a sunny weekend at |
“Squaring the Circle”Utopia/Brigade

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

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

Top 10

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

$60,500,000 in 3,678 theaters; PTA (average per theater): $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 theaters (no change); 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

Movies (limited, expansions of limited releases, as well as award-oriented) are listed by week out, starting with those open this week; after the first two weeks, only films with grossing over $5,000 are listed.

Repair 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 Hypgnosis) (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

blue raspberry (IFC) Week 4; also on VOD

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

It’s not over (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5

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

Knight (Searchlight) Week 8; also on PVOD

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