'Transformers: Age Of Extinction' Trailer 02: Michael Bay's Teflon Franchise

May 15 2014, 5:25am CDT | by

'Transformers: Age Of Extinction' Trailer 02: Michael Bay's Teflon Franchise
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise is like the Joker’s Christmas special in that early Batman: The Animated Series episode. They are the films that “nobody wants to see, but everyone will watch.” This Paramount (a division of Viacom, Inc.) franchise is one that pretty much everyone claims to hate, that everyone claims represents the nadir of big-budget blockbuster film making. Yet Transformers ($709 million worldwide), Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ($836m), and Transformers: Dark of the Moon ($1.12b) have made an average of $889m worldwide apiece.

In terms of per-film averages, that’s behind only Harry Potter ($965m over eight films), the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit films ($964m over five films), and Pirates of the Caribbean ($932m over four films). In many ways, the Transformers films break the rules when it comes to franchise film making. The rules that often apply to mega-budget franchise properties just don’t seem to apply to Michael Bay’s robot-fighting spectacles. No one seems to like them, but yet the grosses don’t seem to be diminished all that much by how disliked the prior installment was. There is no “Tomb Raider Trap” effect for these films.

They also make no effort to market to women in any stereotypical sense, all-but-stating that the main female roles are there purely for t&a and selling the uber-macho male fantasies about manly men doing mortal combat with vehicles that turn into death robots. While most of the very biggest franchises at least attempt to appeal to both genders (think AvatarHarry Potter, and Pirates of the Caribbean), the Transformers films have almost nothing to offer the female movie goer. They are the most explicitly male-pandering franchise around, basically a gender-reversed Twilight Saga. But at least the Twi-Hards actually like the various Twilight films.

At best, you’ll find most film writers admitting to liking the first film with its “boy and his car” narrative that kept the robots in the background for most of the picture. But even that (inexplicably) well-received initial installment is now usually lumped in with the generally loathed sequels. Yet there is little doubt, despite what would otherwise be a surefire contender for franchise fatigue, that Transformers: Age of Extinction will be among the biggest-grossing films of the summer if not the very biggest. This apparent contradiction arguably stems from two specific factors.

First of all, the very people complaining loudest about how much they hate Michael Bay or loathe the Transformers films will likely be first in line at that Thursday night IMAX screening come June 26th. Just as the people most up in arms about Ben Affleck playing Batman will be among the first to see Batman Vs. Superman. The “nerds” complain the loudest, but they will show up to geek-friendly movies no matter what.  Part of the ongoing success of this franchise  to an acknowledgement that said film nerds don’t represent mainstream movie culture as much as they like to think we do.  The regular moviegoers, the ones who fuel the vast majority of ticket buyers for these kinds of movies, don’t necessarily obsess over the intricate details of these kind of movies as you or I might.

What we have to remember is that the vast majority of moviegoers of all demographics don’t very much care if a film based on an 80′s cartoon involving giant robots smashing each other to bits is “good.” They come for the big-scale action scenes, the vulgar humor, and the slapstick comedy that we’ve come to expect from these films. They don’t mind that Bay drags out a solid 105-minute robot-smashing action thriller into a 2.5 hour would-be epic or that the films can’t decide to be kid-friendly romps or borderline R-rated action comedies. Even if they do, they are only going to see the film once in a theater anyway, so who cares if it “works”? Those who come to a Transformers movie for the basest possible reasons will still show up once every few years for their fill of robot-smashing fun and ignore the stuff that doesn’t work.

We’ll see if franchise fatigue sets in this time around. As we saw with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides ($240m/$1b), domestic audiences may well take a step back only to watch overseas audiences pick up the slack. The film ended up being a co-production with (among others) China Movie Channel. Transformers: Dark of the Moon earned $165 million in China alone, $100m more than Revenge of the Fallen, and a trick that Paramount would like to repeat this go-around. Also helping matters is that the film cost “just” $165m, a big comedown from the $200m Revenge of the Fallen and the $195m Dark of the Moon and just above the $150m original installment.

The film does seem to have a slightly smaller in scale than the Chicago-trashing Dark of the Moon, while having an honest-to-goodness movie star like Mark Wahlberg will theoretically lessen the domestic fatigue (as will Dino-Bots). In all likelihood, the critics will howl, the fans will protest, but everyone will see it once and it will make nearly $1 billion worldwide anyway. Either way, whether it’s an artistic improvement or not,  it will be interesting to watch. Transformers: Age of Extinction drops in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D on June 27th, 2014. As always, we’ll see. In the meantime, enjoy the delightfully silly “Battle Cry” song from the group Imagine Dragons, which has a goofy appeal to a moviegoer who grew up with fantastically cheesy action movie songs from the likes of Kenny Loggins, Frank Stallone, and Survivor./>/>

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

UN warns of worsening food crisis in Somalia
United Nations, Nov 1 (IANS) A UN food agency Friday warned that poor rains in Somalia may worsen the country's food crisis, a spokesperson said.
 
 
Canada suspends issuance of visas to Ebola-hit African countries
Ottawa, Nov 1 (IANS) Canada has suspended issuance of visas to residents of West African countries with "widespread and persistent-intense transmission" of Ebola virus disease, a media report said Friday.
 
 
Chinese unmanned lunar orbiter returns home
Beijing, Nov 1 (IANS) China succeeded Saturday in the world's first mission to the Moon and back, becoming the third nation to do so after the former Soviet Union and the US.
 
 
China pledges $81 mn financial assistance for Afghanistan
Beijing, Oct 31 (IANS) China Friday pledged to provide non-reimbursable assistance of 500 million yuan (about 81 million dollars) to Afghanistan this year at an international meeting on Afghanistan held here.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

German Bundesliga standings
Berlin, Nov 1 (IANS) Following are the German Bundesliga standings after Friday's match (tabulated under matches played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points), according to Xinhua. Bayern Munich...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Indian appointed to UN peacekeeping panel
United Nations, Nov 1 (IANS) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has appointed Abhijit Guha, a retired Indian Army Lieutenant General, to a high-level panel to assess UN peace operations. Announcing the formation of the...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Kim Kardashian wants to loose 10lb
Los Angeles, Nov 1 (IANS) Reality TV star Kim Kardashian, who shed weight after the birth of her daughter last year, is keen to loose 10lb (about 4.5 kg) more. She talked about loosing weight while talking to Grazia...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
US, EU to meet Iran over nuke talks
Washington, Nov 1 (IANS) US Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Oman early next month for meetings with his Iranian and EU counterparts to push for a comprehensive deal over Tehran's nuclear programme by Nov...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Amanda Bynes to remain under conservatorship
Amanda Bynes is set to remain under a conservatorship. A lawyer claiming to represent the 28-year-old actress, who was released from a psychiatric treatment facility in Pasadena, California on Thursday (10.30.14) after...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Ben Affleck broke Jennifer Lopez's heart
Jennifer Lopez says Ben Affleck was the first guy who broke her heart. The 'Booty' hitmaker, who got divorced twice before she started dating the 'Gone Girl' actor in 2002, was completely devastated when they ended...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Alicia Key's son is ready to be a big brother
Alicia Keys' son is ''so ready'' to be a big brother. The 33-year-old singer and husband Swizz Beatz are set to welcome their second child into the world on New Year's Eve (12.31.14) and says their four-year-old Egypt...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
UN warns of worsening food crisis in Somalia
United Nations, Nov 1 (IANS) A UN food agency Friday warned that poor rains in Somalia may worsen the country's food crisis, a spokesperson said. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) issued the warning that an...
Read more on Business Balla
 
1.26 mn uprooted Iraqis need shelter: UN
United Nations, Nov 1 (IANS) The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that some 1.26 million internally displaced people (IDPs) throughout Iraq need shelter and basic supplies, UN...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Price expects ghosts in new house
London, Nov 1 (IANS) Singer Katie Price feels that her new house is going to be full of ghosts. She recently moved into a west Sussex nine-bedroom mansion with husband Kieran Hayler and her five children. She's...
Read more on Celebrity Balla