Transformers: The Last Knight may be set for a weaker start in the U.S., but international audiences could help it land a massive opening worldwide. A gritty, action-packed Michael Bay film revolving around a bunch of toys from the '80s certainly felt like a box office risk when the first Transformers film debuted a decade ago. Luckily, the twin engines of nostalgia and popcorn cinema helped to elevate the eventual franchise to the level of a box office juggernaut. Still, the appeal and earning power of the franchise has been declining, and The Last Knight looks to bear the brunt of that.
With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Wonder Woman both kicking off the summer movie season with huge openings, The Mummy and The Last Knight are struggling to find a stateside audience. Though the numbers don't look as bad as Universal's action-horror film, current estimates have The Last Knight opening lower than all previous Transformers movies at the domestic box office. Luckily, like The Mummy, international audiences will help to recoup the film's sizable production costs.
Deadline is reporting that Transformers: The Last Knight is looking at a worldwide opening in the range of $237.5 and $270 million, across its 5-day global premiere frame. With a potential $70–75M coming from the domestic box office, that means the movie stands to make between $167.5 and $200M abroad from Wednesday to Sunday. Thanks to the extended weekend, those numbers will look good when compared to the relative under-performance at home.
Much of The Last Knight's success will rest on China, which is fast becoming the world's largest film market. Previous Transformers films have done well in the region, with The Last Knight looking to open with $80–100M from China alone. With the two previous Transformers movies having broken $1 billion worldwide, China will be the key to pushing The Last Knight into that same territory.
The biggest thing in The Last Knight's favor is lack of competition. Though Wonder Woman is continuing to thrive at the box office, it will be entering its fourth weekend. Meanwhile, despite The Mummy doing well overseas, The Last Knight will likely end its hopes of recouping its budget. With the new Transformers film estimated to have been made on a $217M budget, it will need to continue to perform well past this weekend to turn a profit.
The success of the film is even more critical for Paramount as they're finally narrowing in on their hopes of a shared universe. The Last Knight is a launch-board for future Transformers sequels and spinoffs, including next year's Bumblebee movie. As such, a poor showing at the box office will severely impact the viability of spinoffs, especially given the film will likely be a critical flop. Each film in the series has gone from bad to worse with critics, so a dismal record with audiences won't be encouraging for Paramount's plans to milk the franchise for more profit. We'll have a better picture of things when the Transformers: The Last Knight finally premieres, so stay tuned.
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