This past summer's Transformers: Age of Extinction didn't exactly do much to improve the franchise's critical standing, but the latest installment still managed to gross over $1 billion worldwide (the second-highest total in the series, even). So it shouldn't come as any surprise that Paramount is looking to milk their biggest cash cow for a fifth go-around at some point down the line.
While the eventuality of Transformers 5 happening in the near future feels like an inevitability, there are a few elements about the sequel that remain up in the air. Michael Bay, who has called the shots on the four movies to date, has said that he's leaning towards not directing the fifth feature (but Peter Cullen hopes he returns) and it is currently without a release date. However, things could be picking up soon according to T4 star Mark Wahlberg.
The actor, who was out promoting his new film The Gambler, spoke with MTV about when the schedule for Transformers 5 would round into shape. He didn't have much to say, but Wahlberg is of the mind that the cameras will be rolling before long:
"Yeah, I committed to doing a couple more... you know I can’t speak for Mr. Bay, but something tells me we’ll be on the set soon."
A few months back, it was reported that Paramount was targeting 2016 release dates for a number of their tentpole projects (including Transformers 5 and Star Trek 3), so if that's the case, then the team would need to start production soon in order to give the effects team adequate time to complete the lengthy post-production process. However, series producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura told us after Age of Extinction came out that there is no concrete plan for the sequel yet, so it remains to be seen how accurate that 2016 report is.
Regardless, Paramount still has a few things to figure out before they can stake out a release date. If Bay really isn't returning (remember, he said similar things about T4), then the studio will have to find a new helmsman in order to get the film off the ground. As of this writing, potential candidates have yet to emerge, so it stands reason to believe that the search is ongoing (unless Bay opts to come back).
Granted, without much information to go off of, it's hard to say what exactly Wahlberg means by "soon." The actor is currently filming the comedy Daddy's Home and has press rounds for The Gambler to make, so it's not like his planner is free enough for him to do a big-scale blockbuster in the present day. "Soon" here could be a vague term that means mid-2015 or even later. The movies have a different definition of the word than average Joes.
Since Age of Extinction was so successful at the global box office, Paramount would like for the main players to get on the set sooner rather than later, but there's no need to rush. Three years passed between Dark of the Moon and Age of Extinction, and the gap did nothing to hurt the brand's financial prospects. It's plausible that fans will go through a similar waiting period when it comes to Transformers 5, especially if someone new (with less experience) is in the director's chair.
At the same time, there is reason to question how in-demand a fifth Transformers installment will be when it finally does hit screens. When 2017 (a reasonable estimate for its arrival) rolls around, we'll be well into the slate of Marvel/DC projects that will be dominating the multiplex, plus theorizing what will be happening in the new Star Wars sequels (among other major pictures). Age of Extinction showed signs of franchise fatigue (it scored the lowest domestic box office grosses of any film in the series), so with all the competition emerging, moviegoers could move on from something that may have run its course. Unless, Paramount delivers something fresh and exciting with Transformers 5...
We'll keep you updated on Transformers 5 as more information becomes available.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.