The Last Knight’ Opens to Franchise Low $69.1 Million | Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – It seems the “Transformers” franchise is rusty.

As of Sunday morning “Transformers: The Last Knight,” the fifth installment directed by Michael Bay, looks to bring in $69.1 million from 4,069 domestic locations during its five-day opening weekend. That’s a franchise low for the sequel from Paramount and Hasbro, behind the first in the modern series, which earned $70.5 million in 2007. “The Last Knight” carries an estimated $217 million production budget.

This makes “Transformers: The Last Knight” the latest summer blockbuster to bank on overseas ticket sales to have a shot at turning a profit. In China, the big-budget action sequel made $41 million in its opening day alone. The projected international come through Sunday is $196.2 million, powered by $123.4 million in China.

“The Last Knight” comes at a time when Paramount could have used an all-around hit, following recent misses “Baywatch” and “Ghost in the Shell.” While the latest “Transformers” movie has been advertised as “the final chapter” and Bay’s last go-around, the franchise will continue — Paramount has at least two more movies slated, including a spinoff that could star Hailee Steinfeld. The franchise has historically been massively profitable and seen solid multiples for the studio. Together, the first four earned over $1.3 billion domestically and well over $3.5 billion worldwide.

The latest take on the series centers on an alliance between Bumblebee, Cade Yeager — who Mark Wahlberg also played in 2014’s “Age of Extinction” — and roles played by franchise newcomers Anthony Hopkins and Laura Haddock. Together, the team works together to save the world. Audiences have earned the film a B+ CinemaScore, while critics have mostly dismissed it — it currently holds a 15% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

“The Last Knight” was uncontested at the box office this weekend, but a few indie releases showed traction. Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled”…

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