Monday Morning Quarterback Part II

By BOP Staff

July 6, 2011

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Impressive or utterly depressing? You make the call.

Kim Hollis: Transformers seems likely to become the latest franchise with at least three $300 million domestic performers. Here are the other franchises that have accomplished this feat: Spider Man, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean. Here are the franchises that have not: Harry Potter (so far), Pixar (if we consider all their films as a franchise). How impressed are you by the rare air Transformers keeps in terms of box office?

Max Braden: I was surprised that the Shrek series isn't in the list. I think Transformers benefits from putting everything right into the trailer, and there's none of the angst, moral dilemmas, or epic lulls found in the other trios. Transformers is just large scale, high gloss, action action action. I am pleased to see that if Potter doesn't make it, the next franchise likely to join the 3/$300 million club will be Iron Man, which would go three-for-three and has very little to complain about in terms of quality.

Edwin Davies: I'm genuinely surprised that the Potter films haven't managed it yet (though I think it probably will manage it with Death Hallows Part Deux) but the main thing that strikes me about them is that, Lord of the Rings aside, all of the members of 3/$300 million club are examples of franchises that saw diminishing returns, but in which the third installment had just enough momentum from the previous ones to fall over the $300 million line. If Transformers manages it, I think that will probably be the way in which it does.


Kim Hollis: I'm mostly sad that Transformers makes that much money. I mean, come on, people! I do think Transformers 3 will get there, but my disappointment in people may be mitigated by the fact that I hope hope hope that the final Harry Potter also does.

David Mumpower: I vacillate on this topic. On the one hand, the list of franchises that qualify combined with the ones that (shockingly) do not reinforces what a box office triumph Transformers has been. In fact, I was thinking yesterday during a Beverly Hills Cop marathon that this is the modern version of those films from the 1980s. They exemplified all of the cinematic excess that was a staple of the Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer era and they were also the beginning of the end of Eddie Murphy as a regular human being rather than an egomaniac celebrity. Critics soundly drubbed almost every movie that came from the Simpson/Bruckheimer tandem yet they were ordinarily box office blockbusters. It's fitting that a protege of theirs, Michael Bay, carries the torch for them in 2011.

The flip side of this coin is that the massive box office earned by the Transformers franchise is representative of a huge fanbase. Keeping this in mind, I am confident that there is money left on the table here. I recognize that this is a minority opinion but what frequently goes through my head when I discuss the box office for Transformers is, "Imagine if they were good." Seriously, look at the box office for Avatar and consider for a moment what James Cameron could have done with this concept. Max also mentioned Iron Man, so let's sub in Jon Favreau instead. He's someone who was able to deconstruct the strengths and weaknesses of Iron Man/Tony Stark and build two solid movies around those qualities. Give him Optimus Prime and the Decepticons and watch him go. It would be epic. More importantly, good sells better than not good and in that regard, Transformers is a money sieve. Somehow, this franchise makes a ton of money yet doesn't make as much as I believe it should.

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