‘Bumblebee’ Gets an A- CinemaScore

Moviegoers have graded Bumblebee with an A- CinemaScore, the polling site reported Friday.

Paramount Pictures’ Transformers spinoff shares its score with its crowded holiday weekend competition, namely Warner Bros.’ Aquaman and Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, which both fetched A- grades.

The Travis Knight-directed Bumblebee comes in just behind Michael Bay’s 2007 franchise launcher Transformers (A) and 2011’s third entry Dark of the Moon (A), tying with 2014’s Age of Extinction (A-) and beating out 2009’s Revenge of the Fallen (B+) and last summer’s The Last Knight (B+).

Bumblebee, which earned a 94 percent critical approval and an 81 percent audience “liked it” score on Rotten Tomatoes, is proving a critical and commercial hit at the box office, where it came in second behind James Wan’s DC Extended Universe entry and Justice League spinoff Aquaman.

The shape-shifting VW alien robot pulled in $2.1 million in opening night previews and $8.4m Friday, beating out Poppins’ $6.7m as it zooms towards a projected $22.7m weekend.

Backed by franchise executive producer Steven Spielberg, the Amblin-inspire Bumblebee centers around almost-eighteen-year-old Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld) who forges a bond with the gentle and battle-tested Autobot who is pursued by enemies who hope to bring the evil Decepticons to Earth.

“Growing up in the eighties, the most powerful stories were the Amblin stories. They had a thinking brain; a strong, beating heart; and a poetic soul,” Knight told Empire Magazine of the influence of Spielberg-directed classics like E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.

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“They evoked wonder and laughter and tears every single time. So knitting those two things together: my love of Transformers and my love of Spielberg and Amblin, was something I really wanted to evoke in this film. And it didn’t hurt that Steven Spielberg was an executive producer on the movie! Having this guy who has been an icon for me my entire life and being able to collaborate with him and make this film in a way that evokes what was so special about those movies to me as a kid was a joy.”

Starring Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, and John Ortiz, Bumblebee is now playing.