4 Reasons Why The Fifth 'Transformers' Film Bombed

"Transformers: The Last Night," the franchise's fifth installment from Paramount, took a nose dive with critics as the film made its theatrical debut Wednesday. In addition, moviegoers have also shied away from the franchise. Is the "Transformers" franchise doomed?

The action-packed project from director Michael Bay maintains a low 16 percent rating average Rotten Tomatoes. While Variety described the film as "bada—," most critics fall in line with USA Today's review and the alien-robot flick "reaches new levels of badness."

Read: 'Transformers: The Last Night' Review Roundup: Critics Slam Michael Bay In Last Franchise Film

After "Wonder Woman" knocked the June gloom box office out of the park, the Mark Wahlberg-led film opened to a debut-low for the franchise, following the slow box office pattern that Tom Cruises' "The Mummy" fell into. The fifth film's box office numbers will most likely make under $60 million over a total of five days, according to Deadline. Those numbers are dismal compared to its predecessor, which Variety pointed out made $100 million in its first three days.

Is there a future for the "Transformers" franchise? Here are four reasons why the franchise is in trouble:


The "Transformers" films have never received overwhelming critical praise. However, the fifth installment has generated more backlash from critics than other films in the franchise — and those reviews could matter to potential viewers.

Indiewire published an article Friday on how Rotten Tomatoes review aggregator scale destroys the film critic industry, claiming "Transformers" will lose about 50 percent of the franchise's value because the website allows "an array of reviewers with limited audiences and variable expertise" to weigh in.

Read: ‘Transformers’ Star Mark Wahlberg Admits He Is An ‘Overprotective’ Dad To His Daughter

If the aggregation system does indeed have the influence to make or break a film, "Transformers" is its latest victim.


Five "Transformers" flicks are too many — especially considering the numbers have fallen drastically with the franchise's latest debut.

Los Angeles Times says movie executives believe the film industry is "relying too heavily on sequels from aging franchises, and that audiences are growing weary at a time when they have more entertainment options at home."

"Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales," the fifth installment of the Disney venture, also generated negative reviews from critics. Unlike international fans, North American moviegoers continue to grow bored of "Pirates" as domestic box office numbers hit an all-time low with the fifth film. Variety reported that the domestic market has represented a "smaller share with each new film."

The lackluster debut of the fifth "Transformers" film could be the impetus for Paramount and Bay finally putting the franchise to bed.


Since Bay's first installment of "Transformers" hit the scene in 2007, there have been other stronger summer blockbuster franchises to overshadow it.

The "Planet of the Apes" reboot brought in critical and box office fanfare. Screen Rant noted its third installment "War of the Planet of the Apes" received positive attention from social media users. "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," the second film in the franchise, held a 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and grossed over $710 million worldwide.

"The Avengers" franchise also generated positive critical attention with the box office numbers to match. "The Avengers: Age of Ultron" nabbed a 75 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, raking in over $1 billion at the box office worldwide.

The takeaway? It is harder for "Transformers" to compete with franchises that are capable of keeping their respective films fresh and entertaining.


"Transformers," which started out as a toy for kids, became an animated television series in 1984. Eventually, an animated movie was developed from the series in 1986.

Now, fans of the animated series have seen five live-action films that don't mesh with the beloved animated version 80s kids grew to love. With the lack of substance in the series' entirety and the problematic second film (e.g. racist robots and Shia LaBeouf being seduced by a Decepticon), who are these films really for? It would appear not fans of the animated version.


Although the initial box office numbers and reviews don't put the film in the best position, it will still most likely perform well overall because of international audiences.

The film is currently heading towards a debut franchise low overseas, but momentum could still build to meet the demands of the studio, matching the film's $217 million budget. If Paramount wants to continue making "Transformers" films, it should consider taking a hiatus from the franchise to reevaluate it or take a different approach. For example, the Bumblebee spinoff could be its savior.

"Transformers" producers recently revealed to Entertainment Weekly that they plan to take a different approach to the upcoming film by rewinding it back to the 1980s.

"You might even see a VW Bug," producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura told EW of Bumblebee's appearance. "You never know."

Mark Wahlberg
Mark Wahlberg

Mark Wahlberg, pictured June 18, 2017 at the premiere of "Transformers: The Last Knight" in London, the latest "Transformers" film could potentially determine the fate of the franchise. Photo: Getty Images

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