Transformers 4 and Transformers 5 are currently a hot topic at Hasbro following the toy maker’s third-quarter earnings call on Monday.
And so they should be. Transformers: Dark of the Moon earned over $1 billion at the worldwide box office while the toys earned Hasbro hundreds of millions of dollars. With Paramount Pictures profitable Marvel films moving over to Disney starting with next summer’s The Avengers, the studio can use all the ongoing franchises it can get.
Hasbro’s top man Brian Goldner told investors that the company is currently in “action discussions” with Paramount, producer Steven Spielberg and director Michael Bay to continue the big screen adventures of the robots in disguise. Sources close to Variety confirm that the current plan being discussed would see Transformers 4 and Transformers 5 filmed back-to-back.
Bay went on record during the filming of Transformers: Dark of the Moon as saying his involvement with Transformers ended with the completion of his trilogy, deliberately designed to kill off all the Decepticons. If he’s in discussions then either money talks and/or there’s still a metallic creative itch that needs scratched.
Variety’s sources went on to suggest that Shia LaBeouf would exit the franchise. A name being bounced around as the male hero lead is Jason Statham, an actor not used to playing second fiddle to massive visual effects.
The departure of LaBeouf is a natural progression for the franchise with his character’s improbably arc seemingly complete. Hasbro and Paramount letting Bay return would be sticking with the formula proven to work, despite how critics have mostly negatively reacted to it. When you’re dealing with $100 million and up budgets, the less risk, the better.
Personally I’d rather see a new director come in and try something a little different creatively. Yeah, it’s a risk. But at some point people are going to start feeling burnt out on the same types of Transformers films over and over again.
If Transformers 4 and Transformers 5 are green-lit, they could begin production as early as late next year or the first quarter of 2013. Should Bay slide into a producing role alongside Steven Spielberg, a new high profile director will likely be sought.
Despite numerous toy-to-film projects in the works at Hasbro including Risk, Candyland, Clue, Micronauts with J.J. Abrams producing, Monopoly, Stretch Armstrong, and next summer’s Battleship, Hasbro promises they are not going the “Marvel route” and self-finance films based on their properties. They will continue to lean on partners to help bring the projects like more Transformers films to life.