Could this summer’s Transformers: Age of Extinction spark an entirely new trilogy for the popular blockbuster series based on Hasbro’s Transformers toy line? When you consider that the series has now earned $2.67 billion at the worldwide box office, with each film earning more than the previous installment, it might seem like an easy answer. But according to producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura and director Michael Bay, nothing is yet set in stone for the future of the franchise.
The discussion of a fifth film in the Transformers franchise and the possibility of a new trilogy was sparked last week by Paramount’s Edward Ryan and his suggestion that Transformers 5 might find a release date in 2016. However, Bonaventura told IGN that any discussion on the blockbuster franchise’s future is still only guesswork, as any and all talk of future installments would depend on the success of the Age of Extinction, the fourth film in the franchise, and where the franchise’s popularity appears to be heading.
“We’re not planning on doing a trilogy,” Bonaventura told IGN. “We’re not not planning on doing a trilogy. It’s really a one-movie-at-a-time philosophy.” He added: “Both [director Michael Bay] and I feel like it’s a little arrogant of us to presume success each time. We know our fans are really out there and they’re going to come, so we presume a certain amount of success. But all the energy will be thrown into the next movie, if we’re lucky enough to get there.”
Of course, it’s not exactly “arrogant” to assume that Age of Extinction is likely to perform similarly to previous installments, given the trajectory of the series’ box office, so it’s possible that Bonaventura is being at least a little coy about future installments. But one thing he seems to be adamant about is the idea that the Transformers series will not pursue spinoffs in the same way that franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, or The Amazing Spider-Man have.
“Honestly, there’s been no discussion of it because we’ve been in the business of making [the central story] bigger and bigger,” he explained to IGN. “I think a lot of those spinoffs tend to happen when something’s plateaued. We’re not at that place yet, hopefully.”
Bonaventura did point out that if the Transformers series did continue to move forward, it would not be lacking of potential story lines. “One of the things that people underestimate about the Transformers mythology is how rich it is,” he said to IGN. “There is an enormous number of characters; there’s a helluva lot of story lines, et cetera.”
Transformers: Age of Extinction will hit theaters on June 27 and stars Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci in a joint production between Paramount Pictures and Chinese production companies China Movie Channel and Jiafix Enterprises. The international co-production is sure to bring in the big bucks from China, now the second-largest moviegoing population in the world, and where the film has benefitted from increased exposure and marketing not often afforded to American productions.
Even with a production budget estimated at $165 million, it’s pretty much a given that the new film will prove highly profitable, giving way to more films in the near future.