Rampaging 'Transformers' smashes records

Robots made fireworks at the box office this weekend as "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" scored the third-best worldwide debut ever with a $372-million (Dh1.36bn) take, according to industry figures.

In what was the biggest holiday blockbuster take on its opening weekend, the third Transformers movie in the Shia LaBeouf-starring action franchise made an estimated $162 million in North American receipts through Sunday.

Box office tracker Exhibitor Relations' analyst Paul Degerabedian said "great word of mouth propelled a five percent Saturday uptick" in takings through the holiday weekend that included Canada Day on July 1 and the July 4 US Independence Day.

In foreign receipts the blockbuster had taken $210 million, according to industry media The Hollywood Reporter, citing the Paramount studio, bringing a worldwide total of $372 million.

That was ahead of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," which scored the best ever worldwide debut of $394 million, then Spider-Man 3 at $382 million.

However, with Monday's projected figures in North America, Exhibitor Relations said the expected regional gross for the long-weekend would rise even higher from $162 million to $181 million.

With another sequel, Pixar's animated "Cars 2" finished in second place over the weekend with $32 million from Friday to Monday, bringing the film's overall earnings to $123 million to date.

"Bad Teacher," starring Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz, brought in $17.6 million, just ahead of Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks romantic comedy "Larry Crowne," which came in fourth on its opening weekend with $13 million.

In fifth was romantic comedy "Monte Carlo," starring teen sensation Selena Gomez, which played well to tween girls in North America and made$ 8.7 million on its debut weekend.

Action spectacular "Super 8" from J.J. Abrams landed in sixth with ê9.5 million in projected sales Friday to Monday, and super hero flick "Green Lantern" dimmed to seventh place and $8 million in receipts.

Waddling into eighth place was Jim Carrey-starring "Mr. Popper's Penguins" with $6.8 million, raucous comedy "Bridesmaids" continued to hang in the top ten with $3.5 million in ninth place and Woody Allen's romantic fantasy "Midnight in Paris" rounded out the top ten with estimated $3.4 million take.

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