After racking up nearly $4 billion dollars in global receipts over four films, Transformers 5, 6, and 7 will hit theaters over consecutive summers in 2017, 2018, and 2019. This, despite the near universal disdain among critics and moviegoers alike that these chaotic mind-numbing extravaganzas are the epitome of what’s wrong with modern mainstream Hollywood.
It’s sort of like what Bill Paxton screamed in Twister, about tornadoes: “YOU CAN’T EXPLAIN IT! YOU CAN’T PREDICT IT!”
But I digress…
As previously announced, director Michael Bay – who helmed the first four – will return for the fifth, as will T4 reboot star Mark Wahlberg. No cast and crew confirmations have been made beyond that, although Hasbro and Paramount did clarify that the 6th film will tell the “never before heard” story of the Bumblebee character.
That last bit of information is revealing in its own right. Clearly these movies aren’t being made simply because the first four hauled in so much dough. As Marvel has proven, it’s not just franchises that ticket buyers covet; it’s universes. And that’s what we seem to be getting now – not Transformers sequels, but The Transformers Universe.
Perhaps the most intriguing angle of this whole horror being heaped upon our pop culture is the announcement of the release dates. Transformers 5 will open on June 23, 2017 – the same date that Warner Bros. had already claimed for Wonder Woman. Then to follow that punch to the jaw with one to the gut, Transformers 6 has been slated to open on June 8, 2018 – the same date as Warner Bros.’ Godzilla 2.
That June 8 date suggests a particular strategic meanness. It would seem the only motive for opening on that early June weekend – rather than the franchise’s traditional 4th of July territory – is to deal yet another blow to Warner Bros. This bully tactic is all-but-confirmed when you consider that Transformers 7 will go back to the late June/July 4th holiday when it opens on June 28, 2019. (I guess there must not have been another WB tentpole with a Summer 2019 date to kick around yet.) It’s sort of like why Donald Trump keeps picking on Jeb Bush: not because he poses any legitimate threat, but simply because Trump can’t resist an easy target.
Suffice it to say, expect Warners to move both Wonder Woman and Godzilla 2 from their current slots to ones that are either open or offer better counter-programming. There’s too much money at stake to be steamrolled by the inevitable wake of Autobots and Decepticons.