‘Transformers’ unearths $100M debut at box office

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Transformers: Age of Extinction” is ruling the box office.

The fourth installment in filmmaker Michael Bay’s morphing robots series earned $100 million in North America during its opening weekend, making it the biggest debut for a movie this year, according to studio estimates Sunday, bumping “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and its $95 million debut.

The Paramount blockbuster also earned $201.3 million from 37 international territories, specifically making $90 million in China, where “Age of Extinction” was partially filmed and co-produced by partners like state-owned China Film Group.

“Age of Extinction” stars Mark Wahlberg and Nicola Peltz as a human father and daughter who aid the shape-shifting robots from the Hasbro toy franchise. The sequel introduces the popular Transformers based on the likenesses of dinosaurs.

“I think putting Mark Wahlberg front and center accomplished what we wanted to do, and that’s re-energize the franchise,” Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore said. “He appeals to audiences, both critically and as an action star.”

“Age of Extinction” topped the previous entry in the series, “Dark of the Moon,” which took in $97.8 million during its opening weekend in 2011, but failed to eclipse the $108.9 million debut of the second film, “Revenge of the Fallen.”

The first three “Transformers” films starred Shia LaBeouf as a teenager who befriends alien robots Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) and Bumblebee. The original 2007 film made $70.5 million and went on to gross $319.2 million.

Stanley Tucci, Li Bingbing, Kelsey Grammer, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Bay, Nicola Peltz, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Jack Reynor

From left, American actor Stanley Tucci, Chinese actress Li Bingbing, American actors Kelsey Grammer, Mark Wahlberg, director Michael Bay, actress Nicola Peltz, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura and actor Jack Reynor pose for photographers before their news conference for their movie “Transformers 4: Age of Extinction” in Hong Kong Friday, June 20, 2014. The stars of “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” including Mark Wahlberg and good-guy robot Optimus Prime, were attending the film’s worldwide premiere Thursday in Hong Kong, which was a key part of the blockbuster franchise’s latest installment. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)___

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released on Monday.

1. “Transformers: Age Of Extinction,” $100 million.

2. “22 Jump Street,” $15.4 million.

3. “How To Train Your Dragon 2,” $13.1 million.

4. “Think Like a Man Too,” $10.4 million.

5. “Maleficent,” $8.2 million.

6. “Jersey Boys,” $7.6 million.

7. “Edge of Tomorrow,” $5.2 million.

8. “The Fault in Our Stars,” $4.8 million.

9. “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” $3.3 million.

10. “Chef,” $1.6 million.

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Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.

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Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang.

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