Did 'Transformers 4' Actually Debut With $100M And Does It Matter?

July 2, 2014 5:19 PM

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A mini-controversy of sorts erupted on Monday (Wall Street Journal) when Paramount Pictures (a division of Viacom, Inc.) released their final weekend figures for Transformers: Age of Extinction which put the film just over the $100 million mark. Rival studios claimed that the figure was closer to $97m. I was asked to comment on this story by several regular readers. To be honest, I don’t see that much fire here. If the number is genuine, good for Paramount. But if it’s not, the film will merely suffer a larger-looking second weekend drop since it will be going off the inflated total, which will bite them on the butt this Sunday. But it does offer a glance at both how box office is reported as well as how accustomed we’ve become to once-unthinkably large opening weekends. We’ve gotten to the point where Paramount may-well have thought their Transformers sequel would have been tagged as a disappointment even with a mere $99m debut.

This is not the first time there has been “controversy” over box office figures. In December 1997, Miramax released initial weekend estimates for Scream 2 as $39 million, a record for an R-rated debut at the time, but later revised those numbers to a “mere” $33m by week’s end. There was some scuttle...

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