Comic-Con 2014 is only a week away. Thousands of fans and professionals will descend on San Diego and bury it in a thick coating of nerd several feet deep. There’s really nothing else like it, but the more years pass, the more overwhelming the Con becomes. There’s so much going on, it’s a monumental task just to figure out which of the countless panels and events you want to try and see. Well, we’re here to make your life just a little bit easier. Over the next couple of days, we’ll run down all the panels that should be at the top of your to-do list. Today we’ll start off with the events for Wednesday — “Preview Night” — and Thursday.
When it comes to movie franchises based on beloved 1980s toy lines, Michael Bay’s Transformers movies are the clear champions, having earned over $3 billion worldwide over the course of the four films. But while G.I. Joe got just as much playtime in my house as Optimus Prime and his buddies, the Joe films haven’t been nearly the box office monsters as their transforming buddies. The first Joe movie, which holds the distinction of being nearly as bad as the worst of Transformers, earned $302 million, and the much-improved G.I. Joe: Retaliation pulled in $375 million. Maybe all the Joes need to take things to the next level is a team-up…say, with a bunch of giant robots who can turn into cars. It might sound far-fetched, but producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura isn’t ruling out the possibility.
As much as I may not like Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise, I’m never actually rooting for them to suck. I’d love to finally see him make one that is both fun and not aggressively stupid, and if that ever happens I’ll cheerfully concede the point. In the meantime, however, I’m going to just keep rewatching this stop-motion Transformers video, which serves up a genuinely impressive battle between Optimus Prime and the Constructicons/Devastator. And without a single robot testicle anywhere in sight.
I’ve got a huge amount of respect for anybody with the time and patience to create anything using stop-motion animation, and this Transformers vid by Harris Loureiro is really well done. The action is smooth and rarely jerky like some older stop-motion tends to be, and I was also impressed by how the ‘bots seem to have a real sense of weight to them. Pulling that off has got to be tricky, since you’re having to not only move the toys where you want them, but also figuring out how to add in that look of impact and inertia when they land in a way that looks convincing. And you’ve got to love that surprise soundtrack.
It’s only been less than a week since Michael Bay bludgeoned the world with Transformers: Age of Extinction, and while the critics have not been particularly kind to the film, it has still raked in more than $381 million across the globe. And just because the movie is still relatively new to theaters doesn’t mean that Paramount doesn’t already have their eyes on the future. They recently unveiled the spectacular packaging for an upcoming special edition Blu-ray, and the producers have already started thinking about possible new additions to the franchise.
I haven’t seen Age of Extinction yet, and to be honest, I don’t know if I’ll get to it in the theaters—there are a lot of films ahead of this one on my need-to-see list—but I do want to own this Blu-ray. There’s no official release date yet, and not word on the extras, but you can already preorder it on Amazon. The most memorable image from the glut of marketing, one that was used with great frequency, is that of the Autobot leader Optimus Prime riding on the back of the Dinobot named Grimlock, who is essentially a robotic fire-breathing dragon. It is completely insane, over the top, and if I do pay money to see this in the theater, it will be because I want to see this blasted on a screen many stories tall.
Transformers: Age of Extinction made an ungodly amount of money this weekend, so I think it’s safe to say we’ll see more of those pesky transforming robots in the future. Hell, Michael Bay will probably still be churning them out from the front porch of his retirement home in 2064. (Unless we have real Transformers by then, in which case he’ll probably be married to one of them. The wedding will have a $20 million pyrotechnics budget.) So since we’re in this for the long haul, those of us who have zero interest in the franchise might as well try to find a silver lining. And if that silver lining happens to be the chrome finish on a robot dinosaur, so much the better. We loves us some concept art here at GFR, so we’re going to snatch victory from the jaws of disinterest by sharing some rather badass Age of Extinction concept art, including tons of early designs for the dinobots.
Going into this past weekend, the most positive conversation surrounding Michael Bay’s latest cinematic explosium Transformers: Age of Extinction surrounded its chances of becoming the first film in 2014 to earn $100 million in its first weekend out. And while I was in full belief/disbelief that it would happen, early reports are showing that, no, Optimus Prime and his bot brethren only managed to take in the still ridiculously impressive sum of $97.5 million, give or take. But anyone crying over that small bit of spilled milk can afford to buy enough milk for a lifetime with the $201+ million that the film has earned internationally.
Transformers movies are always expected to do extremely well, even when they’re dumb as robot balls, and it would take an extreme pessimist to call this fourth entry a box office floptimus prime in any way. However, it did come up short as compared to both Transformers: Dark of the Moon ($97.8 million) and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ($108.9 million), though it trampled the first film’s opening weekend of $70.5 million. That’s a little more disappointing for Paramount when you consider just how many IMAX and 3D screens this flick made it to.