Director of bombastic summer blockbusters Michael Bay has said he might be willing to hand over the reigns on his uber-successful Transformers franchise. Bay told USA Today that he would like for another director to take over the franchise so that he would have more time to pursue other projects.
“There’s kind of a new chapter, a new direction in movies I want to make,” Bay told the publication. “I have a lot of stories to tell. And it’s about flexing new muscles.” One of the projects he said he wants to work on once he has more free time is a documentary on elephant poaching, and he’ll have to keep up with his increasingly extensive projects as a producer.
The fourth film in the Transformers franchise came out earlier this summer and recently passed the $1 billion mark at the box office, according to figures from Box Office Mojo. Transformers: Age of Extinction stars Mark Wahlberg alongside the giant, transforming robots. That film had the biggest opening weekend in an otherwise slow summer at the box office, taking in $100 million when it premiered.
The other Transformers films were also solid performers at the box office. Bay’s reputation is built on making movies that are virtually guaranteed huge box office success, though they are lambasted by critics. Transformers: Age of Extinction has a pitiful 20 percent fresh rating from critics on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
Bay doesn’t care about the bad reviews, and given how many people rush to the theaters to see his movies, he seems to have figured out exactly how to please audiences. “People can hate. It’s fine,” Bay told USA Today of the critical reception of his movies. “To me, the only people that know anything is the audience.”
Bay has had an extremely busy summer, with producing duties on last weekend’s blockbuster Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the action film The Purge: Anarchy, and the TNT television show The Last Ship. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles debuted at the top spot at the box office over the weekend, taking in $65 million for one of the biggest box office openings in August ever, according to Box Office Mojo. That film was directed by Jonathan Liebesman, but Bay’s name as producer was prominent in the film’s promotion. The involvement of star Megan Fox — who was also the central piece of eye candy in the first couple Transformers movies — made Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles seem even more like a Bay-helmed film, which certainly contributed to the movie’s success.
Bay said earlier this year that he views Age of Extinction as the first installment in a new Transformers trilogy. “It’s kind of like a new Transformers,” Bay told Entertainment Weekly in April. “We had three, the first trilogy, and this is going to be the next one.”
“Yeah, it’s the first of a new trilogy. I’m not necessarily sure that I’m doing [the other films], but that’s what it’s meant for,” he said.
Given the success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which is racking up profits with Bay only on as producer, it seems likely that the fifth and sixth Transformers movies would keep making money and pleasing crowds even under a different director.
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