‘Transformers’ topples ‘Spider-Verse’ with $60 million after heated box office battle

Spider-Man fought well, but the Autobots prevailed.

After an unusually tight box office battle, Paramount’s ‘Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’ edged out ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’, debuting in first place at $60.5 million in 3,678 cinemas. Sony’s animated sequel “Spider-Verse” still managed a strong second weekend, landing in second place with $55.4 million from 4,332 theaters.

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Early ticket sales for “Rise of the Beasts,” which is the seventh installment in the “Transformers” franchise, were significantly better than the previous two entries, 2018’s “Bumblebee” ($21.6 million) and “The Last Knight” from 2017 ($44.68). million). It’s an encouraging sign that Paramount’s 16-year-old action series isn’t running on steam just yet. This has been a concern as more recent chapters have brought back diminishing returns after softer starts. Reviews for “Rise of the Beasts” were mixed, but audiences embraced the film with an “A-” CinemaScore.

“The jump over the opening of the previous film is excellent,” says David A. Gross, who runs film consultancy Franchise Entertainment Research. “Episodes six and seven are where action series find new creative energy and extend their run (“Mission: Impossible,” “Fast & Furious,” “Planet of the Apes”) or begin to wind down (” Terminator”, “Predator”) Only James Bond lives forever.

But the tentpole, directed by Steven Caple Jr. and starring Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback, cost $200 million. It will have to resonate at the international box office to justify this high price. Previous “Transformers” films have earned up to 70% of total box office revenue outside of the United States and Canada. Overseas, “Rise of the Beasts” reached $110 million in 68 markets, bringing its worldwide total to $170.5 million.

Even in second place, there’s still plenty to celebrate for “Spider-Verse,” which is already a huge theatrical winner with $226 million after 10 days in theaters. Over the weekend, the superhero follow-up topped the entire national tally of its predecessor, 2018’s Oscar-winning “Into the Spider-Verse,” which finished its box office with $190 million. It is now Sony’s highest-grossing anime release in history.

Elsewhere at the box office, three Disney remnants rounded out the top of the North American charts. In third place, “The Little Mermaid” added $22.8 million from 4,320 theaters, down 46% from the previous weekend. After three weeks of release, the live-action remake is swimming with $228 million at the domestic box office. But the big-budget film struggled at the international box office, where ticket sales faltered with $185 million. (Yes, that’s considered “wasting” for a movie that cost $250 million.) At one point, it was hoped that “The Little Mermaid” would approach the billion-dollar mark, but after a disappointing turnout at abroad, it will be a chance to reach $500. million.

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” took fourth place with $7 million from 3,175 theaters in its sixth weekend on the big screen. So far, the comic book adventure has grossed $335 million in North America and $805 million worldwide, which is higher than the original 2014 “Guardians of the Galaxy” ($333 million domestic, $773 million worldwide) but lower following 2017 ($389 million domestic, $863 million worldwide).

In fifth place, “The Boogeyman” added $6.9 million from 3,205 theaters, marking a 46% drop since its debut. The film, adapted from Stephen King’s short story of the same name, has grossed $24.7 million domestically and $39.6 million worldwide to date.

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