'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

NASA's flying saucer among 'Best of What's New'
Washington, Nov 22 (IANS) NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD), a spacecraft that aims to facilitate the safe landing of future Mars missions, has earned a place in the the Popular Science magazine's "Best Of What's New" list.
 
 
Indian helping to light up Gambia (Diaspora Feature)
Banjul (Gambia), Nov 22 (IANS) Like many Indians who are proving to be philanthropists around Africa, Ram Mohan has set up a social business called Comafrique Intelizon Initiative and has embarked on the replacement of candles in villages in the Gambia with solar lights from India.
 
 
Leopards in human areas not conflict animals: Study
New Delhi, Nov 22 (IANS) Leopards in human areas are not always "stray" or "conflict" animals but residents with strategies to thrive in human dominated areas, says the first GPS-based study of leopards in India.
 
 
Golf courses are hotspots for ticks
Washington, Nov 22 (IANS) Golf courses are prime habitats for ticks, the tiny bloodsucking creatures, says a new study.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Pune FC aim for semi-spot in King's Cup
Thimpu, Nov 22 (IANS) Pune FC will be up against fellow Indian side Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) in a crucial third round group stage encounter of the King's Cup at the Changlimithang Stadium here Sunday. The...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
We're doing okay: Zak after Robin Williams' death
Los Angeles, Nov 22 (IANS) Late actor-comedian Robin Williams' son Zak says that the family is still coming to terms with life after the actor's death. Zak, 31, opened up about how his family is coping since his...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Indian golfers Shiv, Chiragh tied 13th, 14th at Manila
Manila, Nov 22 (IANS) Indian golfers Shiv Kapur and Chiragh Kumar fired five-under 67 each to finish tied 13th and joint 14th, respectively, after the third round of the $1 million Manila Masters at the par-72 Manila...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Saarc panel decides to close regional centres
Kathmandu, Nov 22 (IANS) The Saarc Programming Committee, meeting here Saturday for its 49th session ahead of the 18th Saarc Summit, has decided to close down three regional centres and merge four others, bringing down...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Nepal-India border to be sealed during Modi visit
Kathmandu, Nov 22 (IANS) Some parts of the Nepal-India border will be sealed during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, an official said here Saturday. Three...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Australia rest pace trio ahead of India series
Melbourne, Nov 22 (IANS) Cricket Australia (CA) Saturday opted to rest pace trio Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Josh Hazlewood for the upcoming Sheffield Shield round matches, keeping in mind the upcoming Test...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Kanye West 'obsessed' with Kim's photoshoot
Kanye West is ''obsessed'' with Kim Kardashian West's nude photoshoot. The 37-year-old rapper, who has 17-month-old daughter North with the reality TV star, is so proud of his wife for baring all and is planning to put...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Lady Gaga: Sir Elton John 'saved' me
Lady Gaga was ''saved'' by Sir Elton John. The 'Pokerface' hitmaker - who battled a drug addiction for two years - has revealed how the 'Candle In The Wind' star helped her through the hard times. She said: ''It's...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Sir Paul McCartney earns £60k a day
Sir Paul McCartney made £60,000 a day last year. Figures obtained by the Sun newspaper show that The Beatles star raked in £22 million over the 12 months as a director of his music firm. Paul was paid £15 million in...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kelly Brook's new man
Kelly Brook has reportedly found a new man. The 34-year-old model - who spectacularly split from David McIntosh in September this year - is believed to be dating model, James Crabtree, after the pair were seen out and...
Read more on Celebrity Balla