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Michael Bay directed the first five movies in the Transformers franchise, but don't even pencil him in for Transformers 6. Producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura just made it clear that Bay has moved on, and the next film won't even pick up from the events of Bay's 2017 movie Transformers: The Last Knight.
When Lorenzo Di Bonaventura was asked if the studio was looking for new directors for Transformers 6 or hoping they could still make Michael Bay an offer to return. Here's the producer's response:
I think Bay has made it really clear that he loved what he did and he’s not doing anymore. So I think the answer is we’re writing a script. At that point, once we get script we have a strong belief in, then we’ll begin to debate that. Michael’s made it really clear that he didn’t want to do it. I don’t blame him. He spent a hell of a lot, a decade of his life, shooting them.
It was a decade of Michael Bay's life from his first Transformers movie coming out in July 2007 to The Last Knight premiering in 2017 -- and that's not counting all of the development and pre-production time. So it was actually a lot more than 10 years of Bay's time, and it would make sense if he's ready to move on, per what he told /FILM.
Just to drive the point home, Lorenzo Di Bonaventura was asked if the next Transformers script they are developing picks up where The Last Knight left off. Here's his one-word reply:
No. The Transformers franchise is changing in the wake of the disappointment of Transformers: The Last Knight and the positive response to the Bumblebee spinoff. Lorenzo Di Bonaventura recently said they're aiming for the next Transformers movie to be like a tonal fusion of Bumblebee and the Michael Bay movies. He said they want to have "a little more Bayhem" but also mix it with the strong character dynamics of Bumblebee.
But apparently they want the Bayhem action without Michael Bay -- or, rather, Michael Bay doesn't want to come back to provide the Bayhem. (I wouldn't be shocked if he did return several years from now for a big Transformers comeback. That's my prediction, locking it in for 2027.)
During New York Toy Fair 2019 a couple of months ago, the Bumblebee movie was officially declared "a new storytelling universe" for the Transformers franchise.
Lorenzo Di Bonaventura isn't a fan of the word "reboot" but he did previously say they would do another big Transformers movie and it would be "different than the ones that we've done before."
Transformers: The Last Knight made $605.4 million worldwide -- with $475M of that coming from the foreign box office -- off a reported production budget of $217 million, per Box Office Mojo. Bumblebee made $465.8 million worldwide from a $135 million production budget. Both films made roughly the same amount at the domestic box office, interestingly enough.
Bumblebee, which is reportedly getting a sequel, was embraced by critics and fans, with a 93% fresh rating and a 76% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, with an A- CinemaScore. The Last Knight got a B+ CinemaScore but only a 15% RT rating from critics and also a "rotten" an audience score of 44%.
So it sounds like the Transformers franchise wants to mix the success of Michael Bay's big budget blockbusters with the acclaimed quality and character relationships of Bumblebee. Makes sense. Can they pull it off? We'll see.
Meanwhile, if you're curious what Michael Bay is up to, he directed and produced the upcoming action film Six Underground, starring Ryan Reynolds and written by Deadpool scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. Stay tuned for more on that film, too. Keep up with everything we know is headed to the big screen this year with our handy 2019 movie guide.