Franchise fatigue has set in for Michael Bay’s Transformers series. The latest, Transformers: The Last Knight debuted with a meager $45 million opening weekend, and $69 million since opening last Wednesday. Those numbers do no look great for a movie that cost $215 million (before marketing), and they sound even worse compared to 2014’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which had a $100 million weekend and $200 million over its first five days.
Michael Bay and Mark Wahlberg have already sworn off additional Transformers movies, but these numbers should also suggest to Paramount and Hasbro that there’s not much life left in their franchise. The studio should probably put the brakes on that rumored Bumblebee origins movie. There was a time when these movies were critic-proof, but stateside, anyway, positive reviews may have been the only thing that might have convinced audiences to return to the flagging franchise. The 15 percent on Rotten Tomatoes did not help matters, nor the two-and-a-half-hour runtime, which is just too long in this day and age — counting drive-time and waiting in line, a person could probably watch six or seven episodes of Netflix’s G.L.O.W. in the time it takes to watch The Last Knight, and it’s a much more entertaining experience.
It’s not all bad news for Michael Bay’s film. It is crushing it internationally, where it has earned more than $200 million since opening. Globally, it may approach $300 million in its opening weekend (including nearly $100 million in China), so the film will almost certainly eke out a profit, but the enthusiasm for the franchise has waned.