The dark side of the moon is probably the only place in our solar system where 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' didn't lay waste to the box office. The three-quel set an Independence Day weekend record with an estimated $97.4 million from Friday to Sunday. Its four-day earnings amount to an estimated $116.4 million, for a total (since its Tuesday-night preview opening) of $181.1 million. Not bad for a week's work.
The film did about as well as predicted. Pundits had guessed a three-day weekend take of about $100 million, given the new installment's 3D and IMAX surcharges, which, along with ubiquitous marketing, would steamroll over the tremendous ill will generated by the previous sequel and the generally dismissive reviews of the current movie. 'Transformers' easily beat the July 4 three-day weekend record set by 'Spider-Man 2' ($88.2 million). It also boasts the biggest three-day opening of 2011, topping 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' ($90.2 million).
Internationally, 'Transformers' earned an estimated $372 million from Friday to Sunday, making it the third biggest three-day international opening of all time. What's more, according to Paramount, some 70 percent of that international gross (and 60 percent of the domestic gross) came from 3D screens, bucking the current trend of 3D fatigue among moviegoers.