July 7, 2014 7:38 am

‘Transformers’ tops box office over U.S. holiday weekend

Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz and Jack Reynor in 'Transformers: Age of Extinction.'

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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 per cent over the July Fourth weekend last year, when Despicable Me 2 and The Lone Ranger opened.

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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.

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 per cent) in its second week of release despite relatively little competition.

The R-rated, Midwest road trip romp Tammy boasts one of the most bankable stars in movies — McCarthy — but is a smaller, homespun movie made for just $20 million and directed by McCarthy’s husband, Ben Falcone. Despite being savaged by critics, the release made $32.9 million in five days since opening Wednesday.

The other new wide release was the horror flick Deliver Us From Evil, which had no blockbuster ambitions. The release, starring Eric Bana, opened in third with $9.5 million. Also debuting was the animated release Earth to Echo, which took in $8.3 million.

Such movies are a far cry from the usual Independence Day fare, which has in the past included the opening weekends of Spider-Man 2, War of the Worlds, two earlier Transformers releases and, naturally, Independence Day.

But this year’s July Fourth fell on Friday, an already lucrative movie-going day, and thus did little to add incentive for blockbusters. The World Cup, too, may have scared off some big releases. Next week, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is expected to be one of the summer’s biggest hits.

The unusual holiday lull meant that for the first time this summer, a movie (Transformers: Age of Extinction) held the top spot at the box office for two weeks in a row.

© The Associated Press, 2014

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