I know that certain subsidies they get for the product placements, military propaganda, tourism, and, somehow, Chinese pro-communism, helped reduce their budgets, but we all know the reported figures are grossly deflated to avoid appearing desperate. They want audiences to think that each film is a smash hit. AOE was a huge drop domestically, and they don't actually get to keep all the money they make at the foreign box office. Their poor management is why TLK cost more in both production and marketing, hoping that scaling it up instead of down would recover it. I don't care if you like the films or not. I'm just being realistic. I'm asking how much dollar-value is the actual production itself, subsidies included. For reference, the announced figures without subsidies are: -Transformers: $150 mil -- ILM would provide effects for Iron Man the next year, which cost $140 mil. Even if you think they spent much of that on Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, and Jeff Bridges (RDJ wasn't as valuable back then), or if you think the movie is really good, at least consider how much more expensive the CGI must have been for Transformers and then consider whether $10 mil in difference seems realistic. -ROTF: $200 mil -- Even with the insane clusterf* of CGI, including Devastator sucking up a sandstorm and then proceeding to eat the Great Pyramid of Giza. -DOTM: $195 mil -- Somehow costs less. Even if technology advances and things get cheaper, if you remember the sheer scale of film, does that really make sense to you? Driller eats a building, then it falls over and shatters. BTS said they used the most advanced program for their animation and it crashed running an incomplete version of the Driller sequence, so they had to commission the software developers to write them an upgrade. -AOE: $210 mil -- There's nothing as complex as Driller in here, but it's still pretty impressive for $210 mil. -TLK: $217–260 mil -- 12 combiners turn into a dragon, 12 others into a demon, another planet dragging against earth, lifting cities and fields of grass, tracking shots of jets flying in and out of giant metal vines, zero gravity fight sequences, Hot Rod freezing people midair, etc. Not only are the effects themselves incredibly expensive, but they also demonstrate wanton mismanagement of finances. They even commissioned Megatron's squad of biker gang Decepticons through countless phases of design only to be killed within five minutes of screentime. There's so many abandoned ideas, concepts, and writings too. Just do a quick Google and you'll see.