If you happen to stumble upon a stack of cash that has an off-putting odor, it’s possible that Michael Bay just shit that money out, as the filmmaker has a way of doing that kind of thing. He’s having one of the strongest years of his career as both a director and a producer, with Transformers: Age of Extinction as the year’s current third highest earner (with $242 million domestically) and this past weekend saw Platinum Dunes’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles blow expectations out of the sewer with a $65 million debut. And while it was assumed that he would continue on this CGI character streak for the next 150 years (which is around 30 in Michael Bay years), it appears he might be removing himself from the Transformers game. Might be.
Bay’s possible future with the franchise gets completely buried in a USA Today story covering just how successful the filmmaker’s summer has been. (He also has The Purge: Anarchy in theaters along with TNT’s The Last Ship gathering big ratings and arguably more critical acclaim than his feature film efforts.) Bay, it’s said, “believes he will pass the baton for future Transformers movies to a new director while he turns his focus elsewhere.” As someone who is a general fan of Bay, just not his hulking alien robot franchise, I couldn’t be more pleased with this bit of news.
“There’s kind of a new chapter, a new direction in movies I want to make,” Bay said. “I have a lot of stories to tell. And it’s about flexing new muscles.” The man responsible for everything from Armageddon to Bad Boys to Pain & Gain is actually soon planning on getting into a documentary about elephant poaching. That’s about as far away from Transformers as one can get, assuming one of the elephants’ names isn’t Optimus Prime.
Bay still has a full production plate for the rest of the year, with the horror film Ouija coming out in October, and the troubled time travel thriller Project Almanac finally hitting theaters in January 2015. (Bay reportedly spent some time tinkering with the latter after its release was delayed by almost a year.) He’s also producing Starz’s high seas adventure Black Sails and an undisclosed TV project currently in development.
So who will take the explosive reins for Transformers 5? I seriously doubt Paramount and Universal will give it to a relatively unknown director like Project Almanac‘s Dean Israelite or anyone like that. Could this be the time when Bay and Con Air director Simon West finally team up for gigantic robot action?