Ever since it first hit theaters in 2007, the Transformers saga has become one of the most lucrative and maligned franchises in all of Hollywood. Despite each movie being worse than the preceding one in the series, they’ve all managed to be veritable cash cows for Paramount. All told, Michael Bay has taught the world a master course in how to make terrible movies while still hauling in tons of money. Bay’s (and the studio’s) pockets continue to get lined with each successive release, as each doubles down on being the biggest, loudest thing out there.
Now though, we have news concerning Transformers 5, as the franchise finds life for at least one more episode. This one has all the workings to be something entirely different from the first four for a whole lot of reasons, and could end up prolonging Transformers even further into the future. Simply put, these movies might never really go away, and there are some good reasons why that’s so.
1. Michael Bay won’t be directing the next sequel
Let’s face it, America is all Michael Bay-ed out. The domestic haul for Transformers: Age of Extinction was the worst of any movie in the saga, and a lot of that is a result of viewers in this country knowing exactly what Bay represents as a director: Lots of loud noises with little to no substance. With a new creative team on board that could actually make a good movie, it could potentially keep the money-train operating well into the future.
The team in question includes Steven S. DeKnight (Daredevil) and Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead), two people with resumés packed with exciting and interesting projects. If they can somehow make a Transformers movie with substance, there’s no telling what sort of potential the franchise has in coming years.
2. Paramount doesn’t need American audiences to make money on Transformers
Here’s some food for thought: 78% of the money made on Age of Extinction was brought in by foreign box offices, with a huge chunk coming from China. Paramount has no illusions about this either, with the Chinese government playing a large role in a movie that also featured prominent product placement for several specifically Chinese wares. Americans simply aren’t the target audience anymore, and leaning on the foreign box office has made Paramount money hand-over-fist. Bringing in better creative types like DeKnight and Kirkman has the chance to win Americans back over, but the fact remains that such a goal isn’t a necessity so much as a luxury.
3. It takes a lot to make Hollywood quit on any franchise
We live in the age of sequels of reboots, and there’s no sign of that changing anytime soon. It’s the easiest way for a studio to make money while expending as little creative effort as possible, and no better franchise embodies this more than Transformers. There are sagas that have been alive for far longer while making far less money, and even they’ll be around for the next 5 to 10 years at least. Michael Bay might be gone, but no studio will ever let go of a franchise simply because the movies aren’t good.
4. Paramount won’t walk away from an easy payday
We know a studio won’t bury a franchise without a lot of pressure. But the main reason that’s true is because of the insane amount of money a series of films makes them. The lowest box office for any Transformers movie was the very first installment, and that one made over $700 million worldwide. When the floor is almost a billion dollars, it would take some insanely unfavorable circumstances for any studio to not keep pumping out movies. Hollywood is a business, and we shouldn’t expect it to stop acting like one for anything that’s not an indie/arthouse flick.
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