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

Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which began its assault last Tuesday night, smashed its way through box office records by Monday with global ticket sales nearing $400 million.

Paramount Pictures, which released the movie about shape-shifting aliens battling for control of Earth, said that the total haul domestically over the four-day Fourth of July weekend was estimated to be $116.4 million, 60 percent of that came from the costlier 3D shows, which feature especially equipped theaters that are more expensive than ordinary 2-D screenings.

That will be the biggest Independence Day weekend opening, beating Spider-Man 2, which took $115.8 million in 2004.

Meanwhile the movie was Paramount’s highest-grossing international debut ever ringing overseas cash registers to the tune of $217 million through Sunday and beating the release of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

The movie opened simultaneously in 58 overseas markets last Wednesday, along with its U.S. and Canadian debut. Global ticket sales, excluding Monday's international box office estimates which have not yet been forecast, stand at $398 million.

For the first six days, the movie has totaled an estimated $181.1 million in domestic markets since it premiered with sneak peeks at 9 p.m. Tuesday. By comparison, the second Transformers film, Revenge of the Fallen, had made $214.9 million in its six-day debut in summer 2009.

The third installment also recorded the best opening-day gross of 2011. The film grossed $37.2 million on Wednesday in its first full day of play at U.S. and Canadian box offices compared to Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

Against the Transformers onslaught, other new releases did not fare so well. The romantic comedy Larry Crowne, starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, failed to generate much excitement.

Adult-themed Crowne mustered an estimated $15.7 million for the four-day, Independence Day holiday weekend in the United States. That is a small amount for a film with the A-list star power of Hanks and Roberts, and it could only reach the No. 4 spot on box office charts in its debut.

Transformers is Paramount's biggest franchise, with the first two films grossing $1.54 billion. The last movie, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was the second highest grossing movie in 2009 but it drew negative reviews, and Bay himself has said that it wasn't his best effort.