If I had to pick the most egregious example of product placement ever, I would nominate the scene from Transformers: Age of Extinction, when the entire movie stops to examine the wreckage of a crash involving an alien spaceship and a Bud Light truck. The camera pans across a street littered with Bud Light bottles; then Mark Wahlberg picks one up, cracks it open, and takes a healthy swig. And while he’s shilling beer, there’s a second product placement in the background; just over his shoulder, very much in focus, is a giant Goodyear Tires sign.
For all intents and purposes, every sign points to Michael Bay and the Transformers series going their separate ways after The Last Knight. Bay even wrote a goodbye letter to the franchise thanking everyone involved for five movies’ worth of explosions, robots fighting each other, and female characters introduced from the legs up. But there’s one person who thinks he might be faking it.
Has any franchise ever been more successful and less beloved than Transformers? Even before this week’s release of Transformers: The Last Knight, the series had made almost $3.8 billion worldwide, despite an average Rotten Tomatoes score of 32 and three straight sequels that run the gamut from “kind of crummy” to “possibly the actual worst mega-budget blockbuster ever made.”
You know the Transformers series, which unveils its fifth film, The Last Knight, later this week. But did you know that the franchise largely exists because of the war in Iraq? It’s true; producer Don Murphy originally pitched Hasbro on making a G.I. Joe film series, but because of the political climate in the early 2003 after 9/11, they were hesitant and suggested Murphy instead devote his energies to the Transformers. Hasbro did eventually make two big-budget G.I. Joes, but only after the Transformers became a massive success with Paramount and DreamWorks. That’s just one of the facts featured in the latest installment of You Think You Know Movies!
Michael Bay just can’t quit the Transformers franchise. After repeatedly swearing Dark of the Moon would be his last, the director returned for more Bayhem with Age of Extinction, claiming that would be his final Transformers movie. It wasn’t long before Bay promptly marched right back into the cold, steely arms of what might be the only things he’s every truly identified with: Shiny muscle cars that transform into massive, CGI robot aliens. Will The Last Knight actually be Bay’s last Transformers film? To the surprise of no one, he’d like to do at least one more.