There’s been decidedly mixed reactions to the latest entry in Michael Bay’s chrome-plated Transformers pantheon, The Last Knight.
Most mainstream critics have slammed the story as more of the same in what is arguably becoming a wash-rinse-repeat franchise… but it’s also undeniably a franchise that goes after a very specific audience in unapologetic fashion. To deride Transformers for lack of value is like bemoaning that the Fast and Furious ignores the laws of gravity.
So there are plenty of ways to read the nanobot tea-leaves of The Last Knight‘s opening salvo. It’s entirely true that this is the lowest bow of any of the Transformers film – an estimated $69.1 million for its first five days which is just behind the $70.5 million that the very first modern Transformers made in 2007. Given inflation – in both cinema ticket-prices and production – the latest tally is far lower than most would want (the film is believed to have had a budget of $217 million according to trade paper Variety). However, though the US market may have proven disappointing for the film, it’s worth taking into account that films like this are often bolstered by foreign markets and The Last Knight took over $41 million on its first day of release in China.
There are still firm plans for a Transformers spin-off, featuring the popular character of Bumblebee, to land in cinemas in the summer of next year though many are speculating The Last Knight will be Michael Bay’s franchise swansong as the studio looks for a way to refresh the property.