Fresh Off Running Transformers Into The Ground, Paramount Are Ready To Give It Another Stab
The Transformers franchise is, in a way, the ultimate example you can point to when talking about the general unscrupulousness of Hollywood. The first film in the rebooted film franchise, starring a young Shia LeBouef and a Megan Fox who was never ready to take the lead in a blockbuster, was passable and Michael Bay enough for teenagers to enjoy while simultaneously alienating every long-time fan of the franchise. Then they made another one, which was bad. Then they made another one. Then another one. THEN ANOTHER ONE.
All in all, Paramount made five Transformers films, each more bloated and awfully Michael Bay than the last, but nonetheless raking in over $1 billion for each one. And for a year, we thought that might be it. Then came Bumblebee — a lower-budget project that turned the creative direction of the Transformers series on its head by being, well, somewhat charming.
Seemingly buoyed by the fact that, somehow, people are still receptive to the idea that a Transformers film can actually be good, Paramount are apparently now keen to get cracking on two new films featuring the giant fighting robots. Variety have reported that "two simultaneous scripts are now in active development," one by James Vanderbilt, who wrote such wonders of modern screenwriting as The Meg and Independence Day: Resurgence, and one courtesy of by Joby Harold, who most notably penned Guy Ritchie's King Arthur.
So it's not massively promising so far, to say the least.
The good news rests in the fact that neither Bay nor the cast of any previous Transformers movies will return, and it's likely that the films will take the franchise into two separate narrative directions. Whether or not they'll follow the more personal tone that made Bumblebee such a refreshing change of pace remains to be seen. It does seem like Paramount seem keen to completely revamp the franchise, however, as after Bay's departure, the studio decided to do a full revamp of the property.
Either way, Transformers needs to be a success for the studio, who outside of the robot-smashing property don't boast a consistently well-reviewed, profitable franchise along the likes of a Marvel or DC to call their own. The success of Bumblebee should also suggest that if they do get it right, they could have a gold mine on their hands that properly taps into the nostalgia of long-time fans.
Given Paramount's tendency to do whatever it takes to dominate the toy aisles at your local K-Mart, though, we'll remain cautiously optimistic.