Transformers: Dark of the Moon
A promotional poster for Transformers: Dark of the Moon Paramount

Transformers: Dark of the Moon also known as Transformers 3, which began its assault last Tuesday night, smashed its way through box office records by Monday with global gross receipts nearing $400 million, but still not opened in Japan or China.

The film, which cost about $200 million to make, smashed rivals and delighted movie fans around the world, ringing up $372 million at global box offices since its Wednesday debut, Paramount Pictures said on Sunday, reports Reuters.

Transformers 3 is tracking to $400 million in worldwide gross receipts through July 4, putting our $600 million estimate for the total run well within reach. We note that the film has not yet opened in Japan or China, which should eventually make solid contributions to the final total, said James Dix, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.

The movie also recorded the biggest Independence Day weekend opening, beating Spider-Man 2, which took $88.2 million from Friday to Sunday in 2004, CNN reported.

The movie collected $210 million overseas compared to $162 million in the domestic markets. The film grossed $97.4 million over the weekend surpassing Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides's $90.2 million debut.

Moreover, while the movie is tracking below Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen's initial weekend $109 million in North America, it is tracking over 50 percent above Transformers 2 internationally, highlighting the relative attractiveness of franchises and 3D in overseas markets.

Transformers is Paramount's biggest franchise, with the first two films grossing $1.54 billion. Dix said the high international mix highlights the power of Paramount’s franchise strategy.

The movie's 3D ticket sales accounted for roughly 60 percent of domestic box and 70 percent of International.

Surpassing the 50 percent benchmark for 3D is important for Hollywood executives spooked by recent sub-par 3D showings, in our view. For our part, we believe Transformers 3’s 3D was well done, and we experienced no issues concerning screen brightness, which surfaced before the launch as a potential issue in the trade press, said Dix.

Transformers 3's U.S. legs should be solid, although its user scores fall short of the top-tier of recent big-budget releases. For example, Transformers 3 posted a solid 61 user rating in Metacritic, above Cars 2 (56) but below competing tent pole X-Men: First Class (77). Paramount points to Transformers 3's A Cinemascore rating as indicating a healthy domestic run is underway, Dix said.

Dix said big franchises like Transformers are part of Paramount’s strategy to drive operating income north of $500 million per year from being barely breakeven a few years ago. A big franchise release can generate over $150 million in profit for a studio. Paramount Pictures is a subsidiary of Viacom Inc.