It busted the box office in China, and now it looks like Transformers: Age of Extinction is going to break the global box office bank too. The fourth film in the Michael Bay directed explosion-and-robot-filled blockbuster franchise has just become the highest grossing movie of 2014.
This certainly isn't an easy feat, especially considering this year has seen some big-hitters entering the movie-money-making ring. However, having released in more territories over the weekend, [Transformers: Age of Extinction](movie:206531) has now eclipsed the box office takings of [X-Men: Days Of Future Past](movie:203942), [Captain America: The Winter Soldier](movie:254973) and [The Amazing Spider-Man 2](movie:508593), racking in $752.5 million.
However, its journey still hasn't finished and experts suggest the movie could go on to make upwards of $1.25 billion, placing it in contention to be one of the highest grossing movies of all time.
The billion dollar blockbuster box office club is a fairly new phenomenon, with most of its 18 members being massive franchise movies that have released in the past five to ten years. The Tranformers franchise already has one oar in with the billion dollar club, with 2011's Transformers: Dark of the Moon taking $1.123 billion. Age of Extinction, which has been extensively marketed in the emerging Chinese cinematic market, will certainly be hoping to top this figure and perhaps even take on The Avengers' $1.5 billion.
Here are the 18 members of the billion dollar box global office club. Bear in mind these figures have not been adjusted for inflation.
- 1. Avatar - 2009: $2.788 billion
- 2. Titanic - 1997: $2.186 billion
- 3. The Avengers - 2012: $1.518 billion
- 4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: $1.341 billion
- 5. Frozen - 2013: $1.267 billion
- 6. Iron Man 3 - 2013: $1.215 billion
- 7. Transformers: Dark of the Moon - 2011: $1.1215 billion
- 8. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - 2003: $1.119 billion
- 9. Skyfall - 2012: $1.108 billion
- 10. The Dark Knight Rises - 2012: $1.084 billion
- 11. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - 2006: $1.006 billion
- 12. Toy Story 3 - 2010: $1.063 billion
- 13. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - 2011: $1.045 billion
- 14. Jurassic Park - 1993: $1.029 billion
- 15. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace - 1999: $1.027 billion
- 16. Alice in Wonderland - 2010: $1.025 billion
- 17. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - 2012: $1.017 billion
- 18. The Dark Knight - 2008: $1.004 billion
Interestingly, if Transformers: Age of Extinction does join this club, it will be the worst reviewed movie to ever do so. Currently, Age of Extinction stands with a score of 32 on Metacritic - a website which collates all critic reviews and provides an average score out of 100. This is even worse than the Metacritic score for Transformers: Dark of the Moon (the current worst rated movie in the billion dollar club), which stands on a 42.
To act as a comparison, I've decided to list the 10 highest rated movies on IMDB - which operates on user-voting - with their box office results. Immediately you'll notice the list is rather different, with audiences clearly making a distinction between quality and movies which have made a lot of cash at the box office. Indeed, what we see is that many movies, which are now hailed as some of the best ever, failed to make a fraction of what Age of Extinction has. Global box office figures are not available for all the titles, but I've included them where available.
- 1. The Shawshank Redemption - 1994: Grossed $28.341 million (domestic) on budget of $25 million
- 2. The Godfather - 1972: Grossed $245.066 million (global) on budget of $6 million
- 3. The Godfather Part II - 1974: Grossed $47.542 million (domestic) on a budget of $13 million
- 4. The Dark Knight - 2008: Grossed $1.004 billion (global) on a budget of $185 million
- 5. Pulp Fiction - 1994: Grossed $213.928 million (global) on a budget of $8 million
- 6. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly - 1966: Grossed $25.1 million (global) on a budget of $1.3 million
- 7. Schindler's List- 1993: Grossed $321.306 million on a budget of $22 million
- 8. 12 Angry Men - 1957: Grossed $1 million on a budget of $340,000
- 9. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - 2003: Grossed $1.119 billion (global) on a budget of $94 million
- 10. Fight Club - 1999: Grossed $100 million (global) on a budget of $63 million
As we can seeabove, the list, with the exception of The Dark Knight and The Lord of the Rings (and arguably the Godfather), contains hardly any franchised blockbusters. Most are standalone affairs which, when compared to the likes of the Transformers: Age of Extinction's budget of $210 million, were developed extremely cheaply.
So it seems, that although studio bosses might see box office returns as the sign of success, for the actual cinema going audience it's also clearly 'quality' in another sense which dictates what movies are truly perceived as the 'best'.
Do you think Transformers: Age of Extinction deserves to make a billion dollars?