NEW YORK — The Fourth of July went off like a dud at the box office, as the Michael Bay sequel "Transformers: Age of Extinction" and the Melisa McCarthy comedy "Tammy" led the weakest summer holiday weekend in at least a decade.
The North American box office was down a whopping 44 percent over the July Fourth weekend last year, when "Despicable Me 2" and "The Lone Ranger" opened.
This weekend sputtered not because of an oversized bomb like "The Lone Ranger," but because of numerous factors, including that Hollywood simply didn't aim for big fireworks this year. The holdover "Transformers" led all films with an estimated $36.4 million, while "Tammy" had a below expectations Friday-to-Sunday haul of $21.2 million.
"This ranks as one of the lowest Fourth of Julys ever," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak. "We always think of Fourth of July being a big weekend. This year, we just have to lick our wounds and look forward to 'Planet of the Apes' and some other films to get us back on track."
Paramount's "Transformers," the fourth in the series, opened the weekend prior to the year's biggest debut with $100 million. The movie, with a rebooted cast led by Mark Wahlberg, dropped considerably (63 percent) in its second week of release despite relatively little competition.
Overseas, "Age of Extinction" is performing exceptionally well. It added $95.8 million from 37 territories for a two-week worldwide gross of $575.6 million. It's set to soon become the highest grossing film ever in China, with already more than $200 million in box office sales. "Transformers 4" was partially shot in China, features local star Li Bingbing and premiered at the Shanghai Film Festival.