Crash! Bang! Wallop! The most grand of grandiose, the most excessively excessive, the most super of superfluous, the most hyper of hyperbolic franchises is back; Transformers: The Last Knight has stampeded its way into cinemas, and it has opened its theatrical release by triumphantly sitting at the top of this weekend's box office.
As I've started with the good news before the bad (not my usual preference, it has to be said), I'll continue; the impressive top slot for Michael Bay's bow out from the franchise was helped by its foreign performance, where international takings provided a nitrous oxide boost of $196 million, adding to a total of $265 million from its five-day weekend.
Out of that global total, 67 per cent was made from 3D screenings, helped by the franchise's best IMAX opening to date. It's no surprise; Bay's films have always been created with big screen indulgence in mind, and this time around, the director filmed 98 per cent of #TheLastKnight with IMAX 3D cameras to ensure those spending a little more for the full, immersive experience weren't disappointed.
And, in more positive news, following on the trend from Age of Extinction — which broke the record for best Chinese opening weekend in 2014 with a total of $289 million — the fifth Transformers instalment is also the franchise's most lucrative weekend box office opening in China, where it made a huge $123.4 million. That total was backed up by Korea ($13 million), Russia ($8.9 million), UK ($5.7 million) and Germany ($4.7 million).
'Transformers: The Last Knight' Doesn't Leave First Gear In North America
But... here's where the good news runs out of fuel. The impressive international performance is a heavy downpour obscuring the view from through windshield, as The Last Knight made only $69 million domestically. "Only" may seem like an odd choice of word, but comparatively, that's the lowest performance from any #Transformers movie — not ideal for a film with a budget of $217 million.
The Last Knight props up the domestic #boxoffice opening of Transformers ($70.5 million), Dark of the Moon ($97.85 million), Age of Extinction ($100 million) and Revenge of the Fallen ($108.97 million). However, those previous instalments illustrate that Paramount's franchise has always relied heavily on international audiences; the two films to break the billion barrier, Dark of the Moon and Age of Extinction, respectively made 66.6 per cent and 77.8 per cent of their total in foreign markets.
Although The Last Knight has received poor reviews (15 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes) combined with its lowest opening in North America, there is still mileage in the series, with two more movies planned post-Bay. While American audiences may be starting to feel a tad exhausted, the enthusiasm in international markets, and China in particular, should be enough to keep the wheels spinning for some time to come.
How do you rank Transformers: The Last Knight against the rest of the films in the series?