John Young
July 02, 2011 AT 07:14 PM EDT

Transformers: Dark of the Moon started the holiday weekend off with, yes, a big bang. Michael Bay’s alien-robot threequel generated $32.9 million on Friday, according to early estimates. That’s the third-largest non-opening Friday ever, behind Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Star Wars: Episode III. Speaking of Revenge of the Fallen, it seems poor Dark of the Moon is destined to live in that movie’s shadow. Moon has so far grossed $97.6 million in three days, while Revenge had brought in $127.9 million by this point.

Regardless, Moon is posting some gargantuan numbers, and seems poised to surpass the industry’s initial expectations. The $195 million action film is on track to earn $115 million for the four-day weekend, which would bring its six-day cumulative total to about $180 million. Also, 3-D showings accounted for a respectable 60 percent of Moon‘s Friday figure, and CinemaScore audiences handed the PG-13 movie a solid “A” report card.

In second, Disney-Pixar’s Cars 2 skidded an alarming 69 percent for $7.9 million — the largest second-weekend Friday drop ever for a summer Pixar movie. The automotive sequel likely lost much of its family audience to the surprisingly similar Transformers — both movies culminate in an epic action scene featuring talking machines, bullets, bombs, a metropolitan city, and a female British love interest. Cars 2 is on pace to collect about $30 million over the holiday weekend. In third place, the Cameron Diaz comedy Bad Teacher fell 63 percent for $4.5 million, and should make around $17 million this weekend.

Two new films rounded out the top five. The Tom Hanks-Julia Roberts comedy Larry Crowne opened to a mediocre $4 million on Friday. The $30 million picture, which was co-written and directed by Hanks, is headed for a holiday-weekend tally of just $16 million. CinemaScore graders gave it an okay “B” rating. According to the market-research firm, a staggering 93 percent of the PG-13 movie’s audience was at least 25 years old, and 71 percent was at least 50. And in fifth place, the PG-rated globetrotting comedy Monte Carlo, starring Selena Gomez, earned $3.1 million on Friday and should finish the weekend with $10 million. The $20 million film received an “A-” grade from CinemaScore moviegoers, of which 82 percent were female and 52 percent under the age of 18.

Check back tomorrow for another update, and on Monday for the complete box office report.

1. Transformers: Dark of the Moon — $32.9 mil

2. Cars 2 — $7.9 mil

3. Bad Teacher — $4.5 mil

4. Larry Crowne — $4.0 mil

5. Monte Carlo — $3.1 mil

Box office preview: Transformers: Dark of the Moon would like your attention, please

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