‘Transformers’ to top ‘Tammy’

ScreenerBlog

The new Melissa McCarthy comedy, Tammy, is the only film that stands a chance at besting last week’s b.o. champion, Transformers: Age of Extinction, this holiday weekend. But its odds are slim, and not ones on which many pundits are betting. Tammy has earned roundly terrible reviews (29 percent rotten on Rotten Tomatoes). And although lead McCarthy now has a proven track record of headlining hits – The Heat grossed $159.6 million, while Identity Thief raked in $134.5 million – each of the comedian’s previous two successes saw her playing opposite a name star, Sandra Bullock (Heat) and Jason Bateman (Thief). It’s unlikely Tammy co-star Susan Sarandon has the same pull among the young audience at which this latest comedy is targeted. All that being said, however, Tammy did do $1.3 million worth of business Tuesday night, ahead of its official Wednesday premiere. That’s certainly an improvement over The Heat’s pre-premiere gross ($1 million) and that which was earned by Identity Thief ($134.5 million). Tammy could end up pulling in between $30 and $40 for the five-day spread.

Yet even if the film, which is the directorial debut of McCarthy’s husband, Ben Falcone, does manage to defy the critics and appeal to a large pool of viewers, a much heavier deluge is expected to flood those theatres screening Transformers: Age of Extinction. The latter grossed $121 million from its first five days in theatres, which is, very interestingly, less than what it earned in China over the same period. Extinction grossed $134.5 million in the People’s Republic. Evidently, the measures Paramount took to appeal to the Asian territory, the second largest film market in the world, were well worth the effort. (The studio cast Chinese star Li Bingbing, for instance, shot part of the movie in China, and partnered with local companies to promote and market the film.) Back here in the States, demand for the Michael Bay picture is still high. Though Extinction is expected to follow in the wake of its predecessors and dip precipitously its second weekend in theatres, it should still earn enough to once again claim the top spot at the box office. Look for returns around or north of $40 million.

It’s been over two months since a horror film last bowed in theatres, a fact that may benefit Deliver Us From Evil. Critics have not been kind (the film is 30 percent rotten on RT) but the movie has enjoyed a strong marketing push. Add the name draw of Eric Bana, and a five-day gross of $30 million isn’t unlikely.

Finally, kids’ film Earth to Echo bowed nationwide on Wednesday and will likely lay claim to the No. 4 slot. Now that both How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Maleficent are cooling off (at least domestically; Maleficent has now grossed $600 million worldwide and is the No. 1 non-sequel release of the year), Echo will be the resident family offering. Through the five days, returns should tally out to $20 million or so.