Bumblebee is the latest installment of the Transformers film franchise, but how much did it cost to make? Ever since making their live-action cinematic debut in 2007, the robots in disguise have been one of Hollywood's most reliable moneymakers. Despite being ravaged by critics, Michael Bay's blockbusters routinely raked in large piles of cash, with a couple even punching their tickets to the $1 billion club. However, the series encountered its first real commercial hiccup last year, when The Last Knight earned $604.5 million worldwide (the lowest total in the franchise) against a $217 million budget.
As a result, Paramount is going back to the drawing board, pulling the planned Transformers 6 from their release schedule in the wake of The Last Knight underperforming. Spinoff Bumblebee remained untouched through all this, and it may end up being the saving grace of the entire brand. Travis Knight's film is by far the best-reviewed Transformers movie to date, and the studio might have unlocked the formula for future success - which includes trimming down production costs.
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Bumblebee obviously sports a semi-hefty price tag, given its reliance on CGI and special effects. But it may not be as large as some were expecting. The film's budget is reportedly in the range of $100-137 million, making it the cheapest entry in the franchise so far. Previously, that distinction was the 2007 original, which was made for $150 million.
Over the course of the past decade, the Transformers movies have seen their budgets become increasingly bloated - frequently in excess of $200 million. That was fine when the films grossed $1 billion, but the creative team knew something different had to be done for Bumblebee. As the first movie to be set outside the mainline series, the project does represent something of a risk. Bumblebee is one of the most recognizable Transformers and a popular character in the zeitgeist, but he's always been part of an ensemble and never the star of his own film. Additionally, interest in the property was arguably diminishing, so it was smart to not make this a monumental investment. Going by the general rule of thumb, Bumblebee will need to make $274 million worldwide at most to break even. That's a figure it should be able to cross easily.
It's a good think Bumblebee doesn't need to break the bank in order to turn a profit, seeing that it's coming out during a highly competitive time of the year. The spinoff is going against Mary Poppins Returns and Aquaman, both of which are expected to perform well at the box office. With critics in its corner and a fan base excited to see a Transformers movie full of heart, Bumblebee should be fine and possibly usher in a new era for the franchise.
- Bumblebee (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018