We’re less than two months away from the release of the Bumblebee movie. It’s been a few years now since the last cinematic release in the Transformers universe. The Last Night, while profitable, was a disaster for Hasbro and Paramount making a fraction of previous films in the franchise. While early signs are good for Bumblebee in terms of the quality of the film, does it have the potential to be a new blockbuster?
Should The Bumblebee Movie Be A Christmas Film?
Releasing any expensive action movie is a risk for a movie studio these days. But one of the most important factors a company like Paramount has to consider is the release window. For the first time ever, Paramount have made the decision to release a Transformers film for the Christmas holiday period, specifically 21st December (although the UK release is on 26th December). Prior to this, every movie to-date had a summer release. Is this really the best move for the studio for the Bumblebee movie or are they consigning it to a box office meltdown.
There are a few key problems releasing a movie at this time of year. Certainly in 2018 the film is going to have a lot of fierce competition. It’s going up against Mary Poppins Returns, Aquaman, Spider-Man: Enter The Spider-Verse and is likely to catch the tail-end of cinemagoers who will be seeing Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald. Fighting off those other movies alone is as big a gamble as heading over to the roulette tables at NetBet, but there are other considerations as well…
It’s Christmas Time
The Bumblebee movie is no doubt going to appeal to a diverse audience. It won’t just be die-hard Transformers fans who will want to see it, but also families and children bearing in mind the central character. Be honest, we know that going to the cinema isn’t cheap these days. Even if we go alone or with friends it can be expensive so those with families are bound to struggle. Compound that with one of the most expensive times of year short of the annual family holiday makes a trip to the cinema extremely difficult.
There’s no doubt that the film is looking good. The absence of Michael Bay from the director’s chair has pleased fans and the trailers have impressed so far. Humour seems to have been toned down and the G1 look has been welcomed almost universally. This seems to be the live-action Transformers we’ve wanted for over a decade. Fans who have loathed all of the films to-date are genuinely excited for it. I’d even go as far as saying that this could become the film that will bring the fanbase back to the cinema who have been avoiding the franchise for some time. It may even encourage many to see the film repeatedly in ways other blockbusters have enjoyed for years such as Star Wars and Marvel.
Obviously, there’s no guarantee of that happening but repeat viewing certainly makes a difference to box office takings. Solo: A Star Wars Story suffered when many of the core Star Wars fan base missed the film in the cinema or only saw it once and I believe the same happened with The Last Knight. Timing could be an issue with the Bumblebee movie BUT if it is good enough that could be enough to compensate going into January and February.
Time For Toys
This is where Bumblebee could dominate compared to the other films being released at the same time. We’ve all noticed the dominance of Optimus Prime and Bumblebee in toy selections sent to stores by Hasbro. There’s a reason for this. Hasbro confirmed some time ago that no matter what toys the hardcore fans want and love, the mainstream market want Bumblebee and Prime. An entire film centred around Bumblebee is a merchandiser’s dream. It has the potential to make Hasbro more money than the film itself! Once the final figures are in, this is something that they will take into consideration to see how successful the film really is and decide if this prequel is really the future of Transformers movies.
Hopefully December will mark the beginning of a new era for Transformers in the cinema…