Transformers: Dark of the Moon took in an estimated $97.4 million over the Independence Day holiday, becoming the highest-grossing Fourth of July film debut ever, according to Rotten Tomatoes, a movie rating website.

The film, directed by Michael Bay, and stars Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Tyrese Gibson, took in more than $180 million during its six-day opening, which began with the Tuesday night previews. It has helped Paramount to become the only studio to have released five consecutive movies that have made more than $100 million domestically, according to contactmusic.com.

It shows that you've got to motivate and inspire the audience, said Rob Moore, vice chairman of Paramount Pictures.

Experts say that at least 60 percent of the tickets are thought to be from 3D sales. Only 38 percent of the critics at Rotten Tomatoes have given the film a positive review. It special effects-and 3D shots-are undeniably impressive, but they aren't enough to fill up its loud, bloasted running time, or mask its thin, indifferent script, said a Rotten Tomatoes review. However, 90 percent of the audience liked the film on Rotten Tomatoes.

I didn't like the first Transformers movie, I hated the second one and now I'm back to just not liking this one, wrote Matthew Fong of advancescreenings.com. It's a miss mash of random occurrences surrounding huge pop culture bait. There's an endless supply of cameos, comic relief and unnecessary everything.

After a promising first film, and an absolutely dreadful sequel, Transformers: Dark of the Moon stands out as the best film in the series, wrote Cinemanerdz's Dane Jackson. Besides being a welcome addition to the Transformers canon, Bay's third stab at the franchise also features some of the best 3D work since Avatar, which is refreshing after shelling out wasted money for movies whose subpar 3D effects were added in post-production.

 

The movie was released in the US last month and features Huntington-Whiteley making her acting debut as Carly Spencer, while LeBeouf reprised the role of Sam Witwicky.