July 5, 2007 / 7:30 PM / 12 years ago

"Transformers" smashes July 4th, Wednesday records

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sci-fi action film “Transformers” smashed another box-office record by grossing $29.1 million on its second full day of release — the most ever for a July 4 holiday, according to figures released on Thursday.

Cast member Shia LaBeouf poses at the premiere of "Transformers" at the Mann's Village theatre in Los Angeles, in this file photo from June 27, 2007. Sci-fi action film "Transformers" smashed another box-office record by grossing $29.1 million on its second full day of release -- the most ever for a July 4 holiday, according to figures released on Thursday. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

“Transformers,” based on the shape-shifting characters of the popular toy line and cartoon television series, broke the previous Independence Day record held by “Spider-Man 2,” which grossed nearly $22 million on July 4, 2004, the box office tracking service Media By Numbers reported.

The film’s second-day tally across the United States and Canada also marked the biggest-ever Wednesday for a non-sequel movie, exceeding the $26.6 million in ticket sales generated by “The Passion of the Christ” on Wednesday, February 25, 2004.

The movie pulled in $8.8 million from advance screenings on Monday night, then grossed $27.9 million its first full day to amass the highest Tuesday haul of all time.

That sum beat the previous Tuesday benchmark of $15.7 million, set last year by “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” but fell far short of the $59.8 million single-day record set by “Spider-Man 3” two months ago, on a Friday.

Directed by Michael Bay, who is known for big-budget spectacles such as “Armageddon” and “Pearl Harbor,” “Transformers” is based on the Hasbro Inc. toys that turn into alien robots.

In the film, relative unknowns Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox star as youngsters befriended by Autobots, the good aliens who are being battled by evil Decepticons. The giant robot characters are creations of computer-generated graphics that have won rave reviews from critics for their realism.

Released by Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures, the film cost $150 million to make, considered inexpensive for a big-studio action movie heavy on special effects.

Heading into its first weekend with an estimated total of $65.7 million in U.S.-Canadian ticket sales, the film appears on track to dominate domestic theaters.

The only other mid-week wide release was “License To Wed.” Data for the critically maligned Robin Williams comedy will be issued on Sunday, according to the film’s distributor, Warner Bros. The studio is a unit of Time Warner Inc.

“Transformers” is expected to face its biggest competition from last weekend’s box office champion, Walt Disney Co.’s animated “Ratatouille,” and second-ranked Bruce Willis action sequel “Live Free or Die Hard,” from News Corp.’s 20th Century Fox.

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