You couldn’t make it up that the best installment in a long-running franchise by a country mile ended up as its lowest-earner at the box office by a similar amount, but Bumblebee was tainted by association due to the damage Michael Bay had done to the Transformers saga.
While the first four films were all runaway smash hits, takings dropped by almost half a billion dollars between Age of Extinction and The Last Knight, and reviews had been gradually sliding downwards ever since Shia LaBeouf purchased his first car that turned out to be a robot in disguise.
Thanks to the law of diminishing returns, then, Travis Knight’s fantastic 1980-set prequel topped out at just $468 million in ticket sales, setting a new low for the Autobots and Decepticons in the process. What makes it all the more frustrating is that the coming-of-age adventure’s Rotten Tomatoes score of 91 percent is higher than that of Bay’s Revenge of the Fallen, Dark of the Moon, Age of Extinction, and The Last Knight combined. Combined!
A sequel was announced, but it technically never ended up happening. Steven Caple Jr. might be positioning Rise of the Beasts as the first in another all-new Transformers trilogy, but the fact it unfolds a decade after Bumblebee and years prior to Bay’s tenure at the helm indicates that Paramount is seeking the best of both worlds by setting its latest attempt at refreshing the property as more of a standalone soft reboot set apart from its bedfellows.
It’ll take a lot to dislodge Bumblebee from the head of the pack, though, especially when FlixPatrol naming it as one of the top-viewed titles on Netflix underlines that it’s got an enduring re-watch value the Bay area absolutely does not possess.