Michael Bay Reveals Why He Didn’t Take Steven Spielberg’s Advice About the ‘Transformers’ Movies

As a director, Michael Bay is responsible for some of the biggest action movies of all time. Bay directed Bad Boys, The Rock, Armageddon, and five movies in the Transformers franchise, among others. Almost everything he lends his name to wins at the box office, and some of his films are worthy of praise.

But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have regrets in his career.

Ahead of Ambulance’s theatrical release, Bay revealed one piece of advice Steven Spielberg gave him about the Transformers series and why he ignored it.

Director Michael Bay and producer Steven Spielberg at the 2014 premiere of 'Transformers: Age of Extinction.'
Michael Bay (left) and Steven Spielberg | Dave Alloca/Starpix/Paramount Pictures

Bay has been heavily involved in the ‘Transformers’ franchise

The first entry in the Transformers series hit theaters in 2007, and Bay served as director and producer. He filled the same roles in the four subsequent sequels:

  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)
  • Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

Dark of the Moon and Age of Extinction each made more than $1.1 billion at the box office. Each of the other three earned more than $600 million in ticket sales, and all five are among the 175 top-grossing movies of all time. 

In short, the Transformers movies are some of the most popular films of all time, and they’re not going away anytime soon.

Bay also served as a producer on 2018’s Bumblebee, as did Spielberg. But when it came to Spielberg’s advice about the Transformers franchise, Bay took it with a grain of salt.

Bay ignored Spielberg’s about the series

While the first five Transformers were hits at the box office, critics didn’t think highly of them, and fans gave them mixed reviews. 

The first movie scored 58% with critics on Rotten Tomatoes, with 85% of fans giving it a positive review. The follow-ups weren’t nearly as well-received, but that didn’t stop the studio from giving them the green light. And that didn’t stop Bay from saying yes to directing and producing the sequels.

However, Spielberg advised Bay to step away from the Transformers franchise much sooner than he did, advice Bay ignored. 

“​​I made too many of them. Steven Spielberg said, ‘Just stop at three.’ And I said I’d stop,” Bay said, per Unilad. “The studio begged me to do a fourth, and then that made a billion too. And then I said I’m gonna stop here. And they begged me again. 

“I should have stopped. They were fun to do.”

Michael Bay

Even after the relative commercial disappointment of the later Bay-directed movies in the franchise, he just couldn’t turn down the opportunity to get back on set and guide the franchise forward. As it turns out, Bay still can’t turn his back on the Transformers franchise.

What’s next in the ‘Transformers’ movie universe?

Bay hasn’t directed a Transformers movie since 2017, but he’s still part of the creative team behind the franchise. As we mentioned, he produced Bumblebee in 2018. He and Spielberg were part of the producing team behind the forthcoming Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. The movie “[W]ill take audiences on a 90s globetrotting adventure and introduce the Maximals, Predacons, and Terrorcons to the existing battle on earth between Autobots and Decepticons,” per Paramount Pictures

Shooting wrapped in October 2021 with mid-2022 penciled in for its release. However, in late 2021, Paramount pushed back the release to 2023. By the time it hits theaters, fans will have waited nearly five years between Bumblebee and the newest movie in the Transformers franchise.

Bay seems to have finally heeded Spielberg’s advice to step out of the Transformers director’s chair, but his hands remain all over the franchise.

Box office figures courtesy of Box Office Mojo. Career vitals courtesy of IMDb.

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