Critics may hate it. But that’s not stopping the summer movie-going crowd from shelling out cash to see it.

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” set the benchmark as far as opening day grosses are concerned this year. Collecting $37.3 million on the domestic front, the third installment from director Michael Bay can now tout having the highest opening day total for 2011. The figure is good for the sixth best Wednesday opening ever with the assist from 3D & IMAX screens surely helping out. Yet this installment is a far cry from the previous, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which hit $62 million domestically, also opening on a Wednesday in 2009.

Factoring in the Tuesday night special 9pm screenings, Dark of the Moon has amassed just under $43 million stateside. Expect the July 4th holiday weekend to pad the stats for this $195 million produced product. Look for around $100 million-n-change to be engulfed by one of the biggest summer movies this year.

When adding in overseas’ totals, the poorly reviewed franchise finale is already up to $75 worldwide.

Report by Joe Belcastro

'Prime' to make a ton of hard cash

By Joe Belcastro

Joe Belcastro is an established movie critic in Tampa, Florida. As a member of the Florida Film Critics Circle, most of his time is spent reviewing upcoming movies. He also covers news pertaining to the film industry, on both a local and national level as well as conducting interviews. To contact Joe Belcastro regarding a story or with general questions about his services, please e-mail him and/or follow him on Twiiter @TheWritingDemon.

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