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While Aquaman's success has been the one we've waxed poetic about the most over the last several weeks, Paramount's Bumblebee has quietly been the little engine that could. It's amassed over $401 million worldwide---enough that it looks like producers are in development on a sequel to the Transformers prequel.
News broke over the weekend that Bumblebee's success at finding an audience has led to early development on a follow-up. The move comes before the movie has even finished its box office run. It's still currently in plenty of domestic and worldwide movie theaters (it's #1 in China!) and is even set to premiere in Japan coming up in March; Japan will be the last country the movie debuts in. So, it certainly hasn't reached the end of its shelf life yet.
In fact, Japan has been a strong market for previous Transformers franchise movies, so there's every indication it could be a good place, box office-wise, for release, as well.
So, Bumblebee is making money; however, that's not always a good reason to greenlight a sequel. Luckily, there are plenty of directions a follow-up to Bumblebee could go as well.
Director Travis Knight previously mentioned to CinemaBlend that he has already had ideas for Bumblebee 2 and where the relationship between Charlie and Bee goes. Hailee Steinfeld also concurred that she would be interested to see where Charlie's story goes and even John Cena is pumped about the prospect of a follow-up.
In its report, Deadline mentions the idea of a Bumblebee and Optimus Prime team-up, which wouldn't be the worse idea in the world, especially since we've heard a standalone Optimus Prime flick might be difficult to pull off. In fact, other prequel stories featuring different Transformers characters could eventually come down the pipeline as well, although other iterations have not currently been announced to the public.
We do know that Megatron almost featured in Bumblebee before Travis Knight changed his mind after putting the story boards together thanks to realizing that would have totally messed with the whole timeline in all of the Transformers movies so far.
It's interesting looking at a prequel franchise and how it can often be limited by the choices the parent franchise has made, but given that Bumblebee has been fairly well-received and put a new spin on the franchise, the fact that a follow-up is in the works is likely welcome for a lot of fans.
If you haven't caught Bumblebee yet, it's still out in theaters right now, along with other holiday releases like Aquaman and Mary Poppins returns and 2019 releases like The Upside and Glass. To see what else is coming as a sequel potentially moves forward, take a look at our full movies schedule for 2019.