‘Transformers’ Origin Story Set at Netflix as Animated Series

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Netflix and Hasbro have partnered to bring a brand new “Transformers” origin story to the small screen.

The animated show, “Transformers: War for Cybertron,” will launch in 2020 with “a new animation look and style that presents the Transformers like you’ve never seen them before.”

“Transformers” vet FJ DeSanto (“Transformers: Titans Return,” “Transformers: Power of the Primes”) will serve as showrunner on the series. Contributing writers include George Krstic (“Megas XLR”), Gavin Hignight (“Transformers: Cyberverse”), and Brandon Easton (“Agent Carter,” “Transformers: Rescue Bots”).

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“In this ‘Transformers’ origin story, we will explore the expansive universe of Cybertron in a way that audiences have never seen before – to the delight of both existing fans and those coming to the franchise for the first time,” John Derderian, director of Anime for Netflix, said. “The Transformers brand is a global phenomenon and we are thrilled to partner with Hasbro, Rooster Teeth and Polygon to bring this exciting new series to our members around the world on Netflix.”

“We’re thrilled to work with Rooster Teeth’s new premium studio division to bring an all-new Transformers fan-oriented series to Netflix,” Tom Warner, senior vice president for the “Transformers” franchise for Hasbro, added. “Transformers has a rich history of great storytelling and ‘War for Cybertron’ is an exciting new chapter in the Transformers Universe.”

Rooster Teeth will produce the original series for Netflix and Polygon Pictures will serve as the animation studio.

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‘War For Cybertron’: Netflix Sets Transformers Universe Origin Toon Series For 2020

Read on: Deadline.

Netflix is getting set to explore the origins of the battle between Autobots and Decepticons. The streamer is teaming with Hasbro and Rooster Teeth on War for Cybertron, an original animated series from the Transformers universe that will premiere worl…

Was ‘Bumblebee’ Box Office Hurt by Christmas Release?

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

For seven years, “Transformers” was the ultimate critic-proof franchise. Reviews for films like “Revenge of the Fallen” and “Dark of the Moon” were overwhelmingly negative, but fans and families showed up in droves every summer that one of these films came out, to the tune of over $1 billion each.

But these days, “Transformers” doesn’t hold the sway over audiences — at least those in the United States — that it once had, and the most recent installment, “Bumblebee,” doesn’t seem to have changed its box office fortunes. Instead, we are seeing somewhat of the opposite of Optimus Prime’s heyday: “Bumblebee” has earned a franchise-best 93 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, yet through three weekends this holiday season it had only racked up a domestic total of $97 million, crossing $100 million on Tuesday.

That is approximately 15 percent behind the pace of “Transformers: The Last Knight,” which made a franchise-low $130 million domestically in summer 2017.

Also Read: Paramount Again Finds 2018 Box Office a ‘Quiet Place’ Despite Hits Like ‘Mission: Impossible’

It’s a hard end to what was a somewhat hopeful 2018 for Paramount, as the success of “A Quiet Place” and “Mission: Impossible-Fallout” served as the first signs of a potential box office turn around under CEO Jim Gianopulos. But revitalizing “Transformers” as a reliable tentpole franchise was key to that recovery, and Exhibitor Relations analyst Jeff Bock thinks that the studio may have made a big mistake by releasing the film at Christmas against two other films that appeal to the movie’s core audience: “Aquaman” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”

“There was a lot of demographic splitting that really worked against ‘Bumblebee,’” Bock told TheWrap. “‘Spider-Verse’ was another film that really did well with both critics and audiences, and ‘Aquaman’ still has that can’t-miss status with DC fans that led to a big opening weekend and strong word-of-mouth that made it the most popular choice.”

And while the moviegoers who did see “Bumblebee” went to go see the two superhero films, the same could not be said for those who saw Spidey or Aquaman first. According to audience data provided by Movio, 19 percent of moviegoers who bought a ticket for “Bumblebee” also bought a ticket for “Aquaman” over the past three weeks, while 8 percent also bought a ticket for “Spider-Verse.”

Also Read: ‘Bumblebee’ Film Review: Without Michael Bay as Director, the Best ‘Transformers’ Yet

Meanwhile, less than 5 percent of the audience for “Aquaman” and “Spider-Verse” have also gone to see “Bumblebee.” Movio also found that amongst moviegoers age 22-29, “Bumblebee” underperformed not only compared to its main competitors but also compared to “The Last Knight,” meaning that families were providing more of its turnout this year than the 18-35 demographic that once showed up to “Transformers” films in the past.

And competition might not be the only factor. Bock suggests that despite the unprecedented critical praise for this spinoff, the franchise fatigue felt towards “Transformers” just might be too much for “Bumblebee” to overcome.

“People have a certain image of what a ‘Transformers’ movie is from all the Michael Bay films over the last decade, and that can be hard to turn around with just one movie,” Bock said.

There are still some positives, though. Paramount Domestic Distribution President Kyle Davies notes that “Bumblebee” was made on a budget of approximately $125 million. “The Last Knight,” which grossed $605 million worldwide, had a budget of $217 million and was reported by some outlets to have cost even more. Regardless of what the final box office count is compared to past “Transformers” sequels, “Bumblebee” still has a lower threshold to profitability.

Also Read: 2018 Domestic Box Office Finishes With Record $11.85 Billion

And even if there isn’t a rebound in the box office receipts, it doesn’t mean that “Bumblebee” can’t still renew interest in “Transformers” long-term. Word-of-mouth for the film could still spread even after the film leaves theaters and heads to home release.

Director Travis Knight, who has earned critical acclaim for animated films like “Kubo and the Two Strings,” won over critics by balancing the franchise’s trademark action with a heartfelt plot. While future installments aren’t currently on the studio slate — “Transformers 7” was taken off last May — Bock and other box office analysts say that they expect the Autobots to return. If Paramount continues to follow Knight’s path, audiences could still come around in much the same way they have to “Mission: Impossible,” which has remained consistent at the box office since its launch in 1996.

“Having a quality movie and that positive word of mouth has an evergreen benefit to it,” Davies said. “That’s what we needed. We needed a film that regained the pedigree of the original ‘Transformers.’ Whether they see it on opening day or some other time, that’s what matters.”

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Listen to the Power Ballad That Unites ‘Bumblebee’ and ‘Boogie Nights’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

In “Bumblebee,” the lovable robot in the title uses his cassette deck to express himself after losing his voice early in the film. And when he plays the ’80s power-ballad “The Touch,” he brings a happy ending to a strange journey for the song that included a baffling pit stop in Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1997 classic “Boogie Nights.”

People who were 11 years old when “Transformers: The Movie” was released in 1986 can skip ahead a few paragraphs. But for everyone else: “The Touch” is a hopeful electric-guitar-synth-and-drum-fill-driven masterpiece that could easily pass for a Sammy Hagar or Survivor single custom-written for an inspiring ’80s training montage.

When it lifted off in “Transformers: The Movie,” the lyrics seemed to be about the Autobots and their brave fight against the Decepticons.

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Here are a few of them:

You got the touch
You got the power
When all hell’s breaking loose
You’ll be riding the eye of the storm

You got the heart
You got the motion
You know that when things get too tough
You got the touch

But “The Touch” isn’t about Optimus Prime, and wasn’t even written for “Transformers: The Movie.”

As songwriter Stan Bush explained in a fantastic 2014 Vulture story by Abraham Riesman, he and co-writer Lenny Macaluso came up with “The Touch” after watching the Louis Gossett Jr. film “Iron Eagle,” a fighter-pilot film that came out in 1986, the same year as “Top Gun” and “Transformers: The Movie.”

Bush said they were inspired by a moment in the film when Gossett tells a young pilot: “Kid, you’ve got the touch.”

“We were like, ‘Yeah! What a great song idea!’” Bush told Vulture.

Their record label subsequently placed “The Touch” in “Transformers: The Movie.” Here’s what those of us who saw the film at the Del Amor Mall theater in August 1986 had stuck in our heads for the remainder of the afternoon:

Flash forward 11 years, to “Boogie Nights,” and a scene with all kinds of resonance: High-flying porn star Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) is trying to record a power ballad, badly. The scene is notable for me and probably many others for two reasons:

1. Songwriter Michael Penn, one of my all-time favorites, plays Nick, the unflappable producer struggling to get a decent take from Dirk. He also scored “Boogie Nights.”

2. The song Dirk is singing is “The Touch.”

Watch:

How did this happen? Thanks again to Vulture, which explained that Anderson “had been fascinated by ‘The Touch’ since its early days.”

Anderson’s “The Touch” fixation was almost as old as “The Touch.” When he shot the half-hour “Boogie Nights” predecessor “The Dirk Diggler Story,” his early Dirk appeared in a recording-session scene almost identical to the one that later appeared in “Boogie Nights.”

“‘Boogie Nights,’ that was all set up through the publisher,” Bush told Vulture. “It was an after-the-fact thing on my end. I just went to the theater and saw the scene. I guess it’s the old axiom about any exposure being good.”

Bush tried for years to get “The Touch” included in one of the live-action “Transformers” movies — and thought he had his chance when Mark Wahlberg joined the franchise. He also recorded a very Linkin Park-esque remake in a bid to get the song included in the Michael Bay films. Here you go:

But the film’s official reunion with “Transformers” wasn’t to be — until “Bumblebee.”

The new film was the perfect platform for a revival of “The Touch” because it is set in 1987, just a year after the song’s release. Of course, Bumblebee would play it to communicate his feelings to Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld): She’s the only one who knows how to fix him.

She’s got the touch.

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Does ‘Bumblebee’ Have a Post-Credits Scene?

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

(Some spoilers ahead for “Bumblebee”)

The “Transformers” franchise appeared to be on a downturn after 2017’s “Transformers: The Last Knight” dramatically underperformed at the box office. Enter “Bumblebee,” which currently holds a 95 percent fresh rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, easily the best mark of the series.

Travis Knight’s prequel, set in 1987, cost less than any of its predecessors and looks to revitalize the “Transformers” brand this holiday season. It also sort of resets the stage a little bit by doing away with the endless retcons of the Michael Bay sequels. This is not a franchise that has anything resembling airtight continuity, but “Bumblebee” nonetheless is still a part of that continuity, and is geared to get the franchise back on its feet.

Given that “Bumblebee” is the sixth movie in the series and Paramount surely would hope to keep this train rolling, you can’t help but wonder if the film sets up further movies in the series — either a direct sequel to this movie or by looking further down the line — with a post-credits scene. The trope is so prevalent that even “Transformers: The Last Knight” adopted the practice, really the first time a “Transformers” movie had openly considered what the next movie might hold.

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So there’s precedent for a post-credits scene in a “Transformers” film, but does “Bumblebee” itself have one?

Sort of. “Bumblebee” features an epilogue scene that might set a record for how soon a movie has served a stinger after the credits begin — the movie only lists one credit (for director Travis Knight) before jumping into the bonus scene. This scene reveals that Optimus Prime has arrived on Earth and shows Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld) saying goodbye to Bumblebee. In the sequence, the movie also sets up the original 2007 “Transformers” film a little bit, with Bee turning himself into the Camaro form that Shia LaBeouf’s character buys from Bernie Mac in that movie.

So nothing too earth-shattering here — this is pretty much just a normal epilogue rather than a tease for the future, though of course with more Autobots arriving on Earth there’s certainly potential for more “Transformers” adventures in the two decades between when “Bumblebee” and the original 2007 film are set. We’ll see!

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A bunch of monsters think Hollywood should reboot Back To The Future

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‘Bumblebee’ Comic-Con Panel’s Sick New Footage Teases Transformer’s ‘Origin Story’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Paramount Pictures took “Transformers” fans back to the ’80s with a look at new footage and a trailer for the upcoming prequel “Bumblebee” that answered at least one question about the movie’s villains.

During Paramount’s panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2018, “Bumblebee” director Travis Knight called the “Transformers” prequel an “origin story.” The panel also revealed that the movie will include portions that take place on the Transformers’ home planet of Cybertron, and Knight told fans that the jet fighter Transformer featured in the first “Bumblebee trailer” is none other than the Decepticon Blitzwing — not Starscream, a beloved “Transformers” villains, as some had guessed.

“Bumblebee” dials back 27 years before the first of the modern “Transformers” films, and focuses on Bumblebee, the yellow Autobot who’s a primary figure throughout the series. Bumblebee winds up befriending a teenage girl named Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), and the pair go on the run after a government enforcer, Agent Burns (John Cena), tries to capture Bee.

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Of course, it wouldn’t be a transformers movie if there weren’t a bunch of other giant robots to fight on Earth as well — and eventually, Bee and Charlie run into them.

Paramount showed off new footage from the movie during the panel, which gave fans some more insights into the story teased in the film’s first trailer. It found Bumblebee being chased by Burns with a squad of armored vehicles, before the pair are interrupted by Blitzwing, who fires off rockets at everyone and grabs Bumblebee and drags him to the top of a nearby mountain before declaring that he is “sentenced to death.” And then drops him off that mountain.

Bee is still alive, just barely, once he hits the ground. As his systems begin to fail we see him, as his last act before passing out is to scan a yellow VW Beetle.

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When we next see Bumblebee, it’s in footage from the first trailer, in which Charlie discovers the beat up Autobot in a salvage yard in his Beetle form, which leads into an extended version of the sequence from the beginning of the first trailer, with Charlie meeting Bee and very cautiously getting to know him.

A new trailer also came out of the Comic-Con panel, which suggested that Burns might even be working with the Decepticons in the movie.

The story of Bumblebee is an interesting one because he’s been on Earth for quite a while before the events of the “Transformers” movie franchise, or even the prequel. In “Transformers: Last Knight,” it was revealed that Bumblebee has been around on Earth since at least World War II. It seems the prequel might give fans a look into what went on with the Autobots before they appeared in the first “Transformers” in 2007.

“Bumblebee” also stars Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Pamela Adlon, Marcella Bragio, Kenneth Choi, and Justin Theroux and Angela Bassett voicing villainous Decepticons. It’s set to hit theaters on Dec. 21.

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For the first time ever, the Transformers series is rolling out to Comic-Con

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First ‘Bumblebee’ Trailer Is Heavy on Feels, Light on ‘Transformers’ Action (Video)

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The “Transformers” franchise may appear to be dead in the water after Paramount pulled the sixth film in the main series from its schedule, but that’s not so because “Bumblebee” is still coming right at you later this year. And in the middle of the night Monday night we got our very first look at the spinoff. You can check out the trailer in the embedded video above, or on YouTube right here.

“Bumblebee” will take the series back in time to the 1980s, thus serving as a prequel to the main series as well as a spinoff. As often happens in these things, the trailer shows us Bumblebee striking up a relationship with a young woman named Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld) by accident — while Charlie is poking around under her beat up new yellow Beatle, she spots Bumblebee’s real face.

During that bit, the trailer calls back to the first time we saw Bumblebee come into the possession of the human protagonist of one of the movies, with the sequence narrated by Bernie Mac’s used car salesman in “Transformers,” when he tells Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBeouf’) that cars pick their drivers — “a mystical bond between man and machine.”

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The “Bumblebee” trailer is notably light on the sort of large scale action and wacky humor that the “Transformers” movies are known for. The tone of the trailer is in keeping with how producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura has described the film — as being an “emotionally complex story” which he compared to “The Iron Giant.”

Though it does give us a shot of Bee catching a flaming helicopter, as well as a villainous Decepticon disguised as a jet. That Decepticon, by the way, is Barricade, who features prominently in the main series. We also get a glimpse of John Cena and John Ortiz with a whole bunch of soldiers — because no “Transformers” movie could be complete without a military aspect.

In case you haven’t been keeping up with the continuity of the live-action “Transformers” series, Bumblebee has been hanging out on Earth a while before the events of the film series and even a few decades before this movie is set. As revealed in last year’s “The Last Knight,” Bumblebee has been around at least since World War II, in which he was part of an Autobot team who fought the Nazis alongside human forces.

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How he ends up in Hailee Steinfeld’s possession is anyone’s guess. But I’ll guess we’ll find out when “Bumblebee” hits theaters on December 21.

The film is directed by Travis Knight of “Kubo and the Two Strings” fame, and is written by Christina Hodson.

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‘Transformers’ Sequel Cut From Paramount’s 2019 Release Slate

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Paramount announced Wednesday that it has removed next year’s planned “Transformers” installment from its release slate.

The sequel to “Transformers: The Last Knight” had been scheduled for release on June 28, 2019. The sole “Transformers” film now left on Paramount’s slate is the spinoff “Bumblebee,” which will hit theaters this Christmas.

Last year, “The Last Knight” scored the lowest box office returns of any “Transformers” installment with $605 million worldwide against a $217 million production budget, including a franchise-low $130 million domestic cume. The birth and rise of Michael Bay’s series based on the classic Hasbro toy line was one of the signature achievements of Paramount’s late former CEO Brad Grey, who passed away last year.

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But the decline of the once critic-proof series over the course of this decade has run parallel with Paramount’s drop in annual revenue. “Transformers” peaked in 2011 with its third installment, “Dark of the Moon,” with $1.12 billion, a year in which Paramount led all studios with $1.95 billion grossed domestically with 19.2 percent market share.

But last year, “The Last Knight,” despite being the first film in the series to gross less than $200 million domestically, was Paramount’s top release in a 2017 where the studio only grossed $534 million domestic with a market share of just 4.8 percent.

Jim Gianopulos, who became Paramount’s CEO last May after Grey’s death, promised to turn around Paramount’s fortunes at the studio’s CinemaCon presentation last month. One of the centerpieces of the presentation was a sneak peek of “Bumblebee,” a spinoff that promises a more character-driven “Transformers” film and may provide a glimpse at how the franchise will be retooled under the studio’s new leadership.

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Taking place decades before the “Transformers” series, the upcoming film will explore how Bumblebee, the scout for the Autobots, first encountered humans on Earth. Paramount heavily touted the film’s director, Laika Animation’s Travis Knight, who has earned multiple Oscar nominations for his stop-motion animated films like “Coraline” and “Kubo and the Two Strings.” Hailee Steinfeld and John Cena will star.

Replacing “Transformers” on Paramount’s summer 2019 slate is the Elton John biopic “Rocketman,” which will star Taron Egerton and be directed by “Bohemian Rhapsody” director Dexter Fletcher. The June 28 slot held by “Transformers” will now be filled by the Tiffany Haddish comedy “Limited Partners.”

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Under new CEO Jim Gianopulos, Paramount is trying to refresh their long-running “Transformers” franchise, and they have turned to Oscar-nominated animation director Travis Knight for the job with “Bumblebee.”

Knight’s stop-motion animated films at stop-motion animation studio Laika — including “Coraline,” “ParaNorman” and “Kubo and the Two Strings” — have earned critical acclaim, and now Knight is making his live action directorial debut with this “Transformers” spinoff.

At Paramount’s CinemaCon presentation in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Knight talked about how he grew up watching the “Transformers” animated series and playing with the toys, and that he wants to take what he learned about storytelling over the past decade and use it to show the world what the Autobots mean to him.

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“In my films at Laika, I always start with character, and with ‘Transformers,’ I wanted to emphasize what makes the series so famous to start with: character. And heart. And explosions. Lots and lots of explosions.”

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The new film takes place decades before the “Transformers” franchise, as a young, metal-loving teen named Charly (Hailee Steinfeld), discovers a beaten up yellow VW Beetle in her garage. When she goes to inspect it, the car reveals itself to be a frightened Autobot, who cowers in the corner of the garage. He hasn’t gained the ability to talk, but Charly notes that the sounds he makes sound like a bumblebee, giving the future scout of Optimus Prime his famous name.

“Bumblebee” also stars John Cena and Jorge Lendeborg and will hit theaters Dec. 21.

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