‘Transformers’ edge out ‘Spider-Verse’ to claim first place at box office

It was Miles Morales and the Spider-Verse versus the “Transformers” at the box office this weekend and the bots came out on top.

“Transformers: Rise of the Beasts,” the seventh entry in the series, took the No. 1 spot in its first weekend in North American theaters with $60.5 million according to studio estimates Sunday. “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” wasn’t too far behind, however, with an estimated $55.4 million in its second weekend.


Paramount Pictures released “Rise of the Beasts” in 3,678 locations starting with Thursday previews. Set in 1994, it’s technically a sequel to the 1980s-set “Bumblebee” and a prequel to the other films.

With a new cast led by Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback and a new director in Steven Caple Jr., it’s also an attempt to reset and breathe fresh life into the $4.8 billion franchise.

“Rise of the Beasts” also earned $110 million from 68 international markets, giving it a $170.5 million global debut.

Critics didn’t love the movie, but that’s also par for the course for this franchise. Overall, Rotten Tomatoes aggregated a less-than-fresh 52% rating.

“The problem with “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” is the same problem faced by all of the installments — balancing the humanity with the metal,” wrote AP’s Mark Kennedy in his review.

In fact, the only movie that did get a fresh rating was “Bumblebee,” which also made the least money of all of them. Audiences (62% male) were more positive, giving “Rise of the Beasts” an A- CinemaScore. According to PostTrak surveys, general audiences gave it 4.5 stars out of 5.

While a $60.5 million opening might not seem like enough to support a $200 million production budget, “Rise of the Beasts” is a movie that will make most of its money abroad. Since 2011’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” international ticket sales have accounted for at least 70% of the global box office total.

“To have a No. 1 debut is impressive given the formidable competition from ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,’ which had a much stronger opening than anyone anticipated and in its second weekend is a really powerful player,” said Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore.

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