With summer ticket sales down from last year at this time -- last weekend's were up, following three weekends of significantly lower business -- Paramount/DreamWorks is hoping that this weekend's opening of Transformers Revenge of the Fallen will reenergize the box office, which started the year at a record pace. Online ticket sellers Fandango.com said Monday that hundreds of theaters showing the movie at midnight tonight (Tuesday-Wednesday) have already sold out. That is particularly good news for the studio which reportedly poured more than $200 million into the production and countless more millions into promotion and distribution. Reviews of the movie have been mostly dreadful, and while it is generally regarded as critic-proof, the reviews often are good predictors of word-of-mouth following the initial weekend. Next week's business could fall off precipitously. The movie is expected to perform particularly strongly at IMAX theaters, since it is well known that many of the special-effects scenes were created especially for the big-screen format, with each frame containing eight times as much digital information as a conventional movie frame. (The ILM effects company has said that it took some 72 hours to render a single frame of one of the robots on its supercomputers; it takes 24 frames to create one second of film.)
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