Transformers is one of the most successful franchises in film history despite being goddamn awful. It’s a giant middle finger to everyone who sees it and brazenly exists to appeal to the lowest common denominator in an attempt to sell as much merchandise as possible. They’re not even dumb fun. Transformers: Age of Extinction was just a long, apathetic slog of a picture. It ended up making over a billion dollars worldwide.
Paramount recently constructed a “brain trust” for the brainless franchise with the goal of creating sequels, prequels, and spinoffs. Speaking at the Global Consumer Conference 2015, Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner told the crowd [via TFW2005]:
“As we go forward, we would imagine several more Transformers Movies. Not just in the current lineage but also spinoffs and focusing on certain key characters that a beloved by the world over. Many of you know Bumblebee; the yellow Camaro… formally known as a yellow VW Bug and he is a beloved character by kids all over the world. We could see stories told around Bumblebee and other characters. We are in a process of building the brand equity around the Comic Book Business, our TV Business, our Digital Gaming Business and adding to that our new movie business of Transformers”.
Kids are all about the brand equity.
Taking Bumblebee on his own merits, he’s fine. He’s cute and not as loathsome or dull as other talking robot-vehicles. But no one at Hasbro, Paramount, and probably in that “brian trust” cares about Bumblebee. Make no mistake: all PG-13 blockbuster franchises are designed to sell merchandise, but no one does it as cynically as Transformers.
But it doesn’t matter. A Transformers spinoff movie featuring Bumblebee is a license to print money, and it’s what a worldwide audience will happily give for explosions even though movies with better storytelling have made more money.