LOS ANGELES - Hollywood's box office record books have been transformed. The sci-fi adventure "Transformers" had an unprecedented Tuesday haul of $27.4 million in its official debut, beating a record of $15.7 million set last year by "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."
"It's the biggest Tuesday ever," said Mike Vollman, spokesman for Paramount, which released "Transformers" along with fellow Viacom Inc. unit DreamWorks. "It's playing very broadly. It's the kind of summer movie that's drawing families and we're very excited for its progress going into the rest of the weekend."
Directed by Michael Bay and based on the Hasbro toys that debuted in the 1980s, "Transformers" chronicles a war between two factions of giant shape-shifting robots that bring their battle to Earth. The human cast costarring alongside the computer-generated robots includes Shia LaBeouf, Tyrese Gibson, Jon Voight, Josh Duhamel and John Turturro.
"Transformers" opened Tuesday in 4,011 theaters nationwide. It also played in preview screenings at 3,050 theaters starting at 8 p.m. Monday, bringing in $8.8 million.
"They had great preview numbers and it's an incredible total for a Tuesday, which is just not known as a big box office day," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers. "The timing on this movie was perfect, with the holiday in the middle of the week. This film has six days plus a preview to stretch its legs."
"Transformers" is positioned to join the ranks of this summer's blockbusters, "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," "Spider-Man 3" and "Shrek the Third," all of which have surpassed or are about to cross the $300 million mark domestically.
A brisk Fourth of July week would help Hollywood recover from a monthlong downturn that followed a huge start to summer in May.
"This could be the movie that transforms the summer back into the blockbuster we were hoping it would be," said Dergarabedian.