Weekend Box Office: Transformers 3 Tops Again, Horrible Bosses Opens Well While Zookeeper Opens (Relatively) Soft

The Autobots and Decepticons ruled the box office yet again, as the Middle East-occupation parable grossed another $47 million over the weekend.  That was a drop of 54 percent, which was smaller than the 61 percent drop for
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
which had the Fourth of July holiday weekend to theoretically bump it up.  It was a larger drop than the 47 percent second-weekend drop for the original Transformers on this same weekend back in 2007.  In terms of actual dollars,
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
) had a larger second weekend than both prior
pictures, despite opening slightly less than the second film ($180 million in six days versus $200 million in five days last time).  It now has $261 million in the domestic till, with an international total that should be around or at $600 million today (which would be a record 12 days).  It broke $500 million on Thursday, becoming the fastest film to do so in history (nine days).  While it opened smaller than the last picture, its relative quality (it is a more audience pleasing spectacle than the last) is allowing it to slowly catch up (
Transformers 2
had $293 million at this point in its run). So far, it most resembles the 2004 July 4th contender,
Spider-Man 2
, which also had a $180 million six-day start and ended weekend two with $256 million (it ended up with $373 million).  Barring a complete collapse or faster screen loss due to a crowded marketplace, the picture seems destined to pull about $390 million domestic while becoming the second film this year (after
) to cross $1 billion worldwide.  The big question is how it handles
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part II
, which opens next weekend and could theoretically also join the $1 billion club this year.

The big new opener this weekend was Horrible Bosses, which came into the weekend with positive reviews (I'm seeing it tomorrow), a simple premise (three guys plot to murder their unbearable bosses), and the free publicity that came with casting Jennifer Aniston as a villainous sexual predator.  The $35 million Brett Ratner-produced/Seth Gordon-directed film opened with $28.1 million, or right between Bridesmaids ($26 million) and Bad Teacher ($31 million).  For whatever reason (maybe demographics aging upwards?), studios seem to be flooding the market with R-rated comedy this year, and they so-far all seem to be doing pretty darn well.  Bridesmaids has reached all sorts of pinnacles with its $158.2 million cumulative, while Bad Teacher is now just under $80 million.  And let's not forget The Hangover 2, which is the fourth-biggest R-rated film ever, the fourth-biggest non-FX comedy ever, and was, until a few days ago, the biggest domestic earner of 2011 (it crossed $250 million this weekend, moving up the biggest comedies-ever list).  Horrible Bosses played 51 percent male (who gave it an A- from Cinemascore) and 49 percent female (who gave it a B+).  The next would-be test of R-rated comedy mettle will come in two weeks, when Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis (neither proven openers...) try to open Friends With Benefits at least as well as Asthon Kutcher and Natalie Portman opened No Strings Attached last January ($20 million).  It was the fourth biggest opening weekend for stars Jason Bateman, Jamie Foxx, and Colin Farell, Jennifer Aniston's fifth-biggest debut, Kevin Spacy's second-biggest debut, and Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day's top opening weekend yet.

Third place went to The Zookeeper, or 'Kevin James does Night at the Museum with talking zoo animals'.  The Sony/MGM production opened with $21 million, which would have been fine if the film hadn't cost $80 million.  Alas, the picture actually went down slightly on Saturday, meaning its not getting the expected kiddie bump.  It was originally supposed to open in October of 2010 before Sony moved it into the heart of summer after Spider-Man 4 was cancelled in favor of next year's Amazing Spider-Man reboot.  The domestic picture looks grim, as any family audience that isn't snatched away by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part II will be justifiably stolen by Winnie the Pooh (review).  Overseas money has been saving the day for many FX-heavy films not titled Green Lantern, so this could be another one.  Still, the film will likely end up a family DVD purchase due to its babysitting potential.  Speaking of slightly under-performing family fare, Cars 2 continued to slightly underwhelm, grossing $16 million in its third weekend and ending its 17th day just under $150 million.  Again, it's not a disaster and Pixar will be fine (Keep Moving Forward!), but it's not the easy cash dispenser that Disney was hoping for (although every parent with young kids will be buying the Blu Ray/DVD combo pack).  Green Lantern IS a true disaster though, dropping out of the top 10 in four weekends and ending the weekend with $109 million.  Shockingly, the much-hyped summer blockbuster won't reach $125 million, and it will be scraping for $200 million worldwide.  Contrary to studio pinkie-swears, I severely doubt there will be a Green Lantern 2.

In other holdover news, Larry Crowne dropped 52 percent in weekend two, grossing $6.3 million and ending weekend two with $26.5 million.  It's not a good hold and a sign that perhaps the older moviegoers are not making their way to see the film after opening weekend.  Still, the Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts vehicle cost just $30 million, so it actually represents just the sort of film we claim to want more of (smaller-budget character dramadies), and the only pain will be loss of ego.  Mr. Popper's Penguins crossed its $55 million budget this weekend, so we'll see if Fox can work its usual overseas magic for the Jim Carrey comedy (it has $11 million overseas with most of the world still left to open).  I thought Tree of Life was going wide this weekend, but it remained on just 238 screens.  So this weekend was another limited one, as the Terrence Malick slasher pic slowly makes its way to $10 million.  The other arthouse sensation of the summer, Woody Allen's Midnight In Paris, now sits with $38 million and will surpass Hannah and Her Sisters ($40 million) next weekend to become Allen's biggest grosser ever (not adjusted for inflation whereby it would be his seventh biggest movie).

That's it for this weekend.  Join us next weekend when the sage of The Boy Who Lived finally concludes after ten years.  Also opening is Winnie The Pooh (review -- yes, it f-in rocks!), and the limited debut of the Sarah Palin documentary The Undefeated.  If you are a Harry Potter fan, you should be checking out my continuing series retrospective (part I, part II, part III so far), which will look back at the first seven films leading up to a review of the series finale on Friday morning.