The age of the mega franchise is thriving in movie theaters. With so many ideas and characters being rebooted and remade, producers and directors are tapping into this idea of tapping into the same resource. It used to be franchises were three films and done, but now it’s not uncommon to go up to six films. The latest franchise to take it to the limit is director Michael bay’s “Transformers” venture, already slated for a fourth and fifth film. Bay only had three films in mind, but with the success of the last installment, the blockbuster director saw an opportunity for more.
Strength in Numbers
Michael Bay has made a career out of taking a 1970’s or 80’s Hollywood idea and turning it into a 21st century display of explosions, special effects and high-tech animation. Since releasing such box office hits as “Armageddon,” “Pearl Harbor” and “Coyote Ugly,” Bay first ventured into the past producing “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” in 2003. After the release of its sequel, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning,” Bay then put his unique stamps on 1980’s horror flicks “Friday the 13th” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” But it is the Transformers franchise that made Michael Bay a worldwide household name and placed him among the top eight grossing directors in U.S. box office history. So why would he have to be coaxed into doing “Transformers 4?”
A Wild Ride
“Oh my God, somebody is going to take this over,” Bay told the Huffington Post in a September interview. Bay had indicated that “Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon” was his final production of the franchise. But when Universal Studios in Hollywood debuted it “Transformers: The Ride” attraction, Bay felt he was obligated to continue being the sole producer and director of the multi-billion dollar franchise he created. “I thought I was done. Then the ride came out…and I thought someone could come in here and screw this up,” he said. So Bay, not wanting some “young guy” coming in and tainting his product, agreed to begin production of “T4″ when he finishes the relatively low-budget, dark comedy “Pain and Gain.” The latter, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Mark Wahlberg, is expected to be released April 12, 2013.
Bay has indicated the next “Transformers” will star an entirely new cast of robots and a new and different storyline that takes off the previous three movies. The new robots and storylines are also what Hasbro, the makers of the original Transformers toys of the 1980s and their contemporary counterparts, wants. Hasbro president Brian Goldner said at the UBS Best of Americas 2012 Conference that part of his company’s goal is to sell far more action figures than what resulted from “Dark Side’s” release. Goldner said since many of the same characters were in the previous two movies, the new toys were not original and thus had disappointing sales numbers.
Hasbro believes that fresh characters and the subsequent new toys will boost sales, as kids will be more inspired to buy a new robot action figure, as opposed to a newer version of Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. Michael Bay and Hasbro are clearly on the same page with production. But Bay is more interested in keeping his franchise fresh by introducing new characters, while Hasbro wants to capitalize on toy sales of those new faces.
It has also been rumored that Paramount Pictures threw a lot of money at Bay to make sure he came back this one last time. “Dark Side of the Moon” grossed over $1.1 billion alone and studio execs did not want to risk losing Bay’s brand name and style for “T4.” The fourth film in the franchise is tentatively scheduled to be released June 27, 2014.
This guest post was written by Andrew Miller. Andrew wants you to know he’s a man’s man who has worked for a national clothing retailer and two major design houses. While he pursues his dream of opening his own men’s shop in California, he’s freelance writing about the fashion industry.
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