It may have received the best reviews of the franchise to date (by some distance) and injected new life into the series post-Michael Bay, but Paramount Pictures and Hasbro’s Transformers spinofff Bumblebee hasn’t quite managed to take the box office by storm.
Going into the weekend, Bumblebee has earned $311 million worldwide – a far cry from the billion dollar heights of Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Transformers: Age of Extinction, and a little over half that of 2017’s Transformers: The Last Knight, a movie that derailed the series and paved the way for a post-Michael Bay overhaul.
However, Bumblebee also cost a lot less than Bay’s Transformers movies, with a reported budget of $135 million before prints and advertising, which has led Bob Bakish, CEO of Paramount’s parent company Viacom, to state that the Travis Knight-directed spinoff is “solidly profitable” for the studio.
By comparison, The Last Knight apparently made a loss of $100 million for the studio; budgeted at $217 million (plus a marketing budget presumably in excess of $100 million), the fifth instalment in the main series grossed $605 million worldwide, although $228.8 million of that sum came from China where studios only receive around a 25% cut of ticket sales. Add in the likely back-end deals for Michael Bay and Mark Wahlberg, and it’s easy to see where that $100 million figure comes from.
On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug.
Bumblebee is directed by Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings), and stars Hailee Steinfeld (Edge of Seventeen), Pamela Adlon (Better Things), John Cena (Daddy’s Home 2), Stephen Schneider (Broad City), Jorge Lendeborg Jr. (Spider-Man: Homecoming), Jason Drucker (Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul), Kenneth Choi (American Crime Story), Ricardo Hoyos (Degrassi: Next Class), Abby Quinn (Landline), Rachel Crow (Deidra & Laney Rob a Train), Grace Dzienny (Zoo) and John Ortiz (Kong: Skull Island).