This story also appears in the Feb. 26 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
Move over, Deadpool. The latest franchise star to earn a spinoff is Transformers daredevil Autobot Bumblebee.
Paramount will sandwich a Bumblebee movie between its next two Transformers pics. The three films will roll out in successive summers beginning with a Michael Bay-helmed Transformers?5 on June 23, 2017, followed by the Bumblebee spinoff June 8, 2018. Another stand-alone will arrive June?28, 2019.
The studio announced the dates for the three movies Feb. 12 but was vague about whether or not the trio would include a spinoff, simply calling the films Transformers 5, 6 and 7.
“There are characters in the Transformers universe that can be and should be made into their own movies,” Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO Brad Grey told The Hollywood Reporter. “We will make the first movie with Michael and go right into a Bumblebee movie, which will be at a lower cost.”
Considering the Transformers franchise has spawned $3.8?billion in worldwide box office since 2007, it should come as no surprise that Paramount is looking to pick up the pace on its robot juggernaut.
After all, Disney’s Star Wars template is bringing The Force to the multiplex every year, with episodes in 2015, 2017 and 2019 separated by spinoff Rogue One in December and a Han Solo film in 2018. Marvel and DC are mixing stand-alone superhero movies with team-ups as well.
With Bay promising that Transformers 5 will be his last, the studio will look to land a cheaper director for the Bumblebee spinoff. Though the compact yellow bot isn’t the lead Transformer — that distinction belongs to Optimus Prime — Bumblebee arguably is the favorite among toy enthusiasts.
“We’ve brought in a pretty strong writing staff run by Akiva Goldsman, and they have put together eight or nine interesting stories,” said Grey. “So, between that group and Steven Spielberg’s guidance on a story level, these characters are a big business for us to pursue.”