Overall, the Transformers franchise was a good idea in conception, executed to worldwide success only to suffer from problems later on which ultimately will likely close the franchise down (hopefully). The first film, Transformers, came out in 2007 to great success, both in the domestic and international markets and almost quintupled the budget. The next, Revenge of the Fallen, excelled in every direction from the opening weekend to scoring $130 million above the past film’s worldwide profits with a larger budget than the previous. This success would continue, in a way, for the third, Dark of the Moon, yet would begin to show the signs of stress. The worldwide profit cracked the billion dollar mark, a great moment of success; however this was thanks to the international market, not the U.S. The mainland market shed $50 million from the domestic record set by Revenge of the Fallen and the opening weekend was also down. This switch can set a dangerous precedent because certain film scan fall out of favor in the US, remain popular abroad for a bit and then fall into failure. The fourth film, Age of Extinction bore this out.
The international market (with China making up a massive amount of that) once again rose to support the film and supplied the majority of the money to take the film over $1 billion and it’s good that they did because at this point the U.S. market was uninterested. The opening weekend was the second best at that point but the domestic total was the lowest yet. This means that interest was high in the film yet died out fast as people stopped caring. This was likely due to the change of the entire cast and changing the setting and story more significantly from the past films yet the China setting did play out well for them. The fifth film in the series, The Last Knight, was a true testament to what I mentioned about the switch. The domestic market tanked to the lowest total yet, it had the worst opening weekend out of all the films, it was the lowest in worldwide profit ($600 million) and had the third highest foreign total (even with over $200 million poured in from China). The budget was the highest yet but without even tripling the budget the film, while successful, is the worst by comparison and dangerous for the future of the franchise.
I don’t personally think that a prequel will be well-received by audiences which are leaving in droves unless it is radically different and appealing to a new audience. Bumblebee is in theaters December 20, 2018 and whether or not it is a box office hit or bomb will probably help to decide if another one of these films should be made. It has a different director and has received positive reviews although Micahel Bay is still producing. I started getting bored during Dark of the Moon and after reaching such boredom and disinterest in Age of Extinction I avoid these Transformers films as much as possible. Let me know what you think or why Transformers is in such trouble. I await the day when the robots in disguise will be done justice and inspire children to feel instead of buy toys and merchandise.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Transformers: Age of Extinction
Transformers: The Last Knight
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