Box Office: ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ has biggest 3-day opening of 2011

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” may not be performing as spectacularly as its predecessor, “Revenge of the Fallen,” but it is slowly making its mark on the 2011 box office record book.  With another $32.9 million on Friday, “Dark of the Moon” has now found $97.5 million since debuting on Wednesday.  Not counting $5.5 million in Tuesday “previews,’ that edges it slightly ahead of “The Hangover, Part II’s” $91.2 million last month.  “Dark of the Moon” could find itself with anywhere from $155 – 175 million by the end of the July 4th Holiday.

Debuting much less impressively in fourth place Friday was Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts’ comedy “Larry Crowne.”  The older adult skewing tale, which received mostly negative reviews, pulled in $4 million for what could be a $17-19 million holiday frame.  Budgeted at $30 million, “Crowne” was completely financed by Hanks’ Playtone productions and then distributed by Universal Pictures.  Looking to top out a little over $40 million domestially, this looks like it could eventually be a break even endeavor for everyone involved when its all said and done.

Performing solidly ahead of “Crowne” was “Cars 2” which pulled in another $7.8 million in second place for an 8-day take of $98.8 million.  That figure now has the sequel trending ahead of the original family favorite that had grossed $92 million at this point in 2005. 

Also continuing to play well was Cameron Diaz’s “Bad Teacher.”  The R-rated comedy sold another $4.5 million in tickets Friday for an 8-day take of $49.9 million. “Teacher” should easily surpass Diaz’s “What Happens in Vegas'” take of $80 million.  A final tally around $90-95 million will do wonders for Diaz’s career and be a nice moneymaker for Sony Pictures.

Tepidly debuting in the fifth slot was 20th Century Fox’s “Monte Carlo.”  The Selena Gomez teen comedy found just $3.1 million for what could be, at best, a $12 million holiday frame.  Why Fox selected such a competitive time for this targeted player is still puzzling.

In other news, “Super 8” crossed the $100 million mark and has found $102.7 million in 22 days.  “Bridesmaids” hit $150 million on Friday.

Look for continuing box office updates throughout the weekend on HitFix.