With 2016 nearly at an end, moviegoers have started to look forward to the film slate of 2017. There will be no shortage of massive franchise fare next year, and one of the bigger projects on the horizon is Transformers: The Last Knight. The fifth installment in the lucrative action series, Last Knight is being positioned as a new entry point for viewers, as well as the first step in Paramount’s plan to annualize the property with new releases each year.
The studio recently kicked off the marketing campaign, unveiling a teaser trailer earlier this week that raised several intriguing questions about the narrative and set up a basic outline for the plot. The preview provided glimpses of Michael Bay’s typically explosive set pieces presented on a grand scale, as well as a somber, melancholy tone underscored by a haunting cover of the Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize.” Following the trailer’s debut, it’s safe to say that it had the intended effect, as it’s scored a large number of views in the two days since.
Per Deadline, the Last Knight trailer has been seen 100 million times so far, becoming Paramount’s most popular trailer launch. It scored 93.6 million of those views in the first 24 hours (more than the ballyhooed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 teaser had in the same amount of time), making it the third-most viewed preview of the year. Only Beauty and the Beast (127.6 million views) and Fifty Shades Darker (114 million views) were seen more in 2016. Unsurprisingly, the Transformers 5 trailer was a hit in China, where it racked up 16 million views in 24 hours and was Weibo’s top trending topic. The franchise has continuously done well in that country, so it’s clear that it’s still in demand.
Despite the four previous movies earning mixed-to-negative critical responses, the Transformers franchise remains one of the more lucrative in the 21st century. The films have collectively brought in $3.7 billion worldwide, and these trailer numbers indicate The Last Knight is a threat to punch its ticket to the $1 billion club when it premieres next summer. That’s an encouraging sign for Paramount, since they have a Bumblebee spinoff planned for 2018 and a proper Transformers 6 coming through the pipeline for 2019. Interest in the brand has to stay high in order for their plan to take full effect.
It will be interesting to see if the future marketing materials can replicate this buzz, but there currently is no reason to suggest otherwise. Paramount knows it’s working with one of its big cash cows and should be able to deliver more of what general audiences want with each new trailer and TV spot. Conceivably, the next Last Knight previews will peel back more layers of the story, which means the ratings could be even higher when that time comes.