ANGELES (Reuters) - Big-budget Hollywood flick Transformers: Dark of the Moon smashed rivals and delighted movie fans around the world, ringing up $372 million at global box offices since its Wednesday debut, Paramount Pictures said on Sunday.
The movie, the third installment in the blockbuster films about a battle for Earth being waged by shape-shifting beings from another world, appeared on its way to beating some box office records and it bolstered the prospects for the soft 3D market with 70 percent of its international ticket sales and 60 percent of its domestic tally in that format, Paramount said.
An estimated $97.4 million in US and Canadian ticket sales for the three days Friday through Sunday eclipses the previous best three-day tally over the US Independence Day holiday, Paramount said. That record had been held by Spider-Man 2 with $88.2 million on the same weekend in 2004.
By the time the holiday ends on Monday, Paramount forecasts that the third Transformers will have taken in $116 million in four days in the United States and Canada and $181 million since its wide-release debut last Wednesday.
The movie, with a reported cost of $200 million to make and tens of millions more to market, started with a soft roll-out of only $13.5 million from sneak previews and midnight screenings in domestic theaters, below 2009s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen $16.6 million midnight mark.
Ahead of its roll-out, box office watchers had expected the movie to sell well over $150 million worth of tickets through the US holiday. After the first-day numbers, some pundits began trimming their forecasts, but now it appears the final box office tally will be well ahead of expectations.
The bar was set high, and to come in well above it is unusual. But real moviegoers like the movie, said Don Harris, executive vice president of distribution at Paramount.