Franchise fatigue is a very real thing, and the Transformers series is an excellent case in point. The adventures of the Autobots and Decepticons always pulled in big numbers at the box office, culminating in the back-to-back billion-dollars hauls of Dark of the Moon and Age of Extinction, but the movies themselves kept getting progressively worse.
By the time Michael Bay’s fifth entry The Last Knight arrived, audiences had clearly lost interest, as evidenced by a massive drop in earnings that saw the blockbuster rake in over $500 million less than its two immediate predecessors. Clearly, a change was needed, and the decision was made to draft in Travis Knight and have him make his live-action directorial debut with 1980s prequel Bumblebee.
Critically, it worked a treat, with the stripped-back story scoring a higher Rotten Tomatoes rating than Dark of the Moon, Age of Extinction and The Last Knight combined, but it also became the lowest-grossing installment yet after topping out at $468 million globally. That being said, it was the cheapest to produce and ended up turning a profit, but the numbers still weren’t what Paramount was expecting.
That hasn’t stopped the movie from continuing to find a new lease of life, though, with Bumblebee now creeping back into the Netflix Top 10 most-watched films list, where at the time of writing it can be found sitting pretty as the sixth most popular pic on the platform around the world. The Transformers will be back on our screens next year, of course, and we hope that director Steven Caple Jr. hews a whole lot closer to the Knight template than the Bay one, especially with the studio banking on the project to reestablish the brand as a Hollywood powerhouse.