I’m not one to celebrate if a film I really want to like flops at the box office. Generally it means there won’t be a sequel. If there’ s no cash to be made, why make another? But, I will take the exception to the hideous Transformers movies. Paramount’s take on the Transformers toy rates amongst the worst series of films I have ever seen. EVER. Perhaps now the powers that be can stop touching themselves with their their billions and wake up and realise that the franchise is on its way out and in desperate need of a fresh reboot.
Of course that would never happen while the films are grossing billions at the box office. Age of Extinction eventually managed to accumulate a tidy sump of $1.1 billion. Despite being critically panned. In fact all films have been panned by critics yet still make the green. So why would Paramount stop what is seemingly an infinite cash cow? They wouldn’t. Perhaps now, after the domestic and critical pounding The Last Knight received and deserved (you can check my review here). It may be time to finally eye up the reboot.
Let us put this in some kind of perspective. Age of Extinction had a three-day opening weekend where it netted $100 million. The Last Knight had a five-day opening (wed-Sun) where it netted just $68 million. So you can see the massive drop in earnings. That’s not because Age of Extinction was a good film, it wasn’t. It was utter shit like their previous three films. I can’t tell you why it made so much money. I guess it was something to do with it being what they called a ‘reboot’, but it wasn’t at all.
Also, the marketing for AoE helped with lots of images of Optimus Prime in his original G1 truck form gave Transformers fans hope. Short lived hope as the flame emblazoned monstrosity from the previous films made a full return. Shame. On the flip side, marketing The Last Knight must have been a total nightmare, There was nothing new to show. Nothing that will make this film look any different, or be more watchable than the last mega-budget, nostalgia-targeted, blockbuster rubbish so they settled for King Arthur. Fail.
Ok granted, The Last Knight wasn’t strictly a flop, there are those that love a bit of ‘Bayhem’ and will go and see his films no matter what, the latest figures show (since I first started writing) that this latest installment is nearing its initial tracking figure of $70 million and overseas the film fared much better with a $125m Fri-Sun debut in China. There are plenty of stats too that suggest that Paramount are running out of ideas and that people are generally getting bored with the same old shit for the past 10 years. TLK was lowered to a B+, AoE got an A- Cinemascore. Word of mouth has also dropped from 69% recommendation for Age of Extinction to 55% for The Last Knight. so the numbers are dropping across the board.
The trouble is the same mistakes are being made over and over. It was painful watching the film because you just get a sense that the studio don’t know where to go, what direction to take. In this latest film they have completely disregarded the stories and mythology that the previous films had made us suffer through. The focus is still on forgettable human characters, The films main hero, Optimus Prime was barely in the film and frankly, that’s a good thing as he no longer looks like the hero we know and love.
The scary part of all this is, Paramount have more movies lined up, attempting to tap into the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe formula. Next year sees the release of Bumblebee, the stand alone movie, for arguably the most likable of the transformers. Unfortunately the Transformers films in their current state are just not as lovable as the Marvel films. Even if Superheroes are not your cup of tea, the films are always an enjoyable watch, the Transformers quintology is not. The Last Knight was the first of the films to feature a post credit scene, which was, like the film before it utter garbage. NO Paramount you’re not Marvel. Leave it.
Now that Bay has decided to leave the series behind, the standalone Bumblebee movie hitting theaters next year, and the low domestic revenue from T5, surely Paramount could see this as a perfect opportunity to ditch the mess they have created and start over. Not just for us Transformers fans but for their own profit margins too.
Recently Paramount have been in a bit of slump. Can you believe they have only had one domestic and international hit in recent years and that’s Arrival. Other films such as Fences, Office Christmas Party and 10 Cloverfield Lane were decent but modest successes. XXX: Return of Xander Cage made decent money overseas (£301million) but flopped in North America, and the low-budget Rings made an OK return despite being utter tripe. But other than that, the rest; Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Silence, Ghost in the Shell, Star Trek Beyond, Ben-Hur, Zoolander, No. 2, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows have all been flops. Hell even Baywatch was shockingly bad. Not even the glorious Alexandra Daddario could save it from box office floppage. You see, normally, when there is some money to be made Paramount would just roll out Prime and his chums and make a bundle of cash. But not this time it seems. It looks like that (to coin a current phrase over here in the UK) that money tree is dying.
So with The Last Knight not doing so well, with a story that was perhaps the worst I have ever witnessed and a post credit scene that done literally nothing to get me excited for the next film, what can Paramount do? Well, the first thing to do is to pay the fans back for their patience, and the disloyal service they have given them over the past 10 years. Give them the true live action Generation 1 Transformers film that we all dreamed off since that first teaser trailer was released 10 years ago. Give us the story of the Cyebertronian wars, the story of the Ark and the proper origins story form the cartoons and comics. Make the Transformers the center piece, not the humans. oh and for the love of god, make them look like the Transformers we know and love. Yes I know physically it would be impossible for a giant robot to transform into a tiny cassette player, but who cares!
What they could do is take a leaf from High Moon Studios, The cinematics for their Transformers games are much better, and show more emotion than all the 5 Bay films put together, and the beauty of them is that they are a combination of true Generation 1 transformers and a little bit of Bay’s Transformers. Check out them out below:
UPDATE: Sorry, the videos seem to have been pulled from YouTube.
So although I don’t like to celebrate the failings of one of my favorite movie studios, I think this time us Transformers fans have cause to cheer. It takes something monumental sometimes for people to wake up and see that things need changing.
It’s been 10 years since the first (and best) Transformers film so that’s a nice round number to just bite the bullet and decide to go for a reboot. The Bumblebee spin-off could be the perfect opportunity to start something wonderful.
If you want to read my 10 reasons why the Transformers the Movie carton is better than all 5 of the live action films, then here is a handy link