"Transformers: Age of Extinction" launched to $8.75 million in previews on Thursday night across 2,900 theaters. That preview tally is in fact the lowest in the franchise to date and considerably down on the $13.5 million of "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" in 2011. It's also not the highest of the year, both "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" ($10.4 million) and "Godzilla ($9.3 million) outpacing it.
That has raised questions as to whether the film will crack the $100 million opening weekend tally after all, both 'Winter Soldier' and "Godzilla" opened in the low-mid $90 million range. No film has managed to crack $100M so this year, and if "Transformers" fails it's expected no film will until the next "The Hunger Games" in November.
"Transformers" director Michael Bay is fully aware of the criticisms lobbed at the franchise and tells MTV he doesn't have an issue with the detractors:
"They love to hate, and I don't care; let them hate. They're still going to see the movie! I think it's good to get a little tension. Very good. I used to get bothered by it, but I think it's good to get the dialogue going. It makes me think, and it keeps me on my toes, so it's good."