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Credit: Paramount Pictures

Bumblebee ‘solidly profitable,’ making sequel likely; The Last Knight lost $100 million

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Jan 11, 2019

Looks like Bumblebee was just what the Transformers films needed to jumpstart the flagging franchise, with even Viacom chief Robert M. Bakish publicly praising its profitability.

In a conference in Las Vegas, Bakish noted that subsidiary studio Paramount’s Bumblebee has reversed the fortunes of the Transformers films, remaining “solidly profitable” while revealing the previous film in the series, 2017’s Transformers: The Last Knight, “lost more than $100 million,” per The Hollywood Reporter.

Bumblebee, the sixth movie in the Transformers film franchise and the first not directed by Michael Bay (we’re not counting the 1986 animated film Transformers: The Movie), has made nearly $101 million domestically as of January 9, according to Box Office Mojo against a $135 million budget. Meanwhile, Last Knight brought in $130 million domestically against a $217 million production budget. Last Knight’s performance at the box office was a franchise low, bringing in $115 million less than Transformers: Age of Extinction in 2014 domestically. 

It should also be noted that Bumblebee is still playing in theatres and going strong (it was still among the top 5 box office earners last weekend) and has brought in nearly $309 million globally — which is where that "solidly profitable" comes in.

Many critics found Bumblebee to be the best live-action Transformers film to-date, due in no small part to director Travis Knight bringing a significantly lighter touch than Bay did to the series.

Although a sequel has not yet been officially greenlit, Bumblebee producers Tom DeSanto and Lorenzo di Bonaventura discussed with SYFY WIRE last month about the possibility of a follow-up film being made if Bumblebee ends up being a hit. When asked about the prospect of making a second Bumblebee film, di Bonaventura said that “if the audience shows up for it, yeah for sure, we’ll definitely do one.” Since it’s clearly doing well — especially in the eyes of Paramount’s corporate overlord Bakish — and since apparently studios like to make money (so we’ve heard), odds of a Bumblebee 2 happening look good. 

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