The Bayverse's faliure was because it alienated family and female audiences

Discussion in 'Transformers Movie Discussion' started by Nathanoraptor, May 10, 2020.

  1. Nathanoraptor

    Nathanoraptor Well-Known Member

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    The points made in the thread "Why do so many people want Transformers 6 from Michael Bay" are many and varied with the relative merits (or lack of) of the Bayverse, whether Transformers movies "should" carry sophisticated themes, the faithfulness of the designs, and whether or not Bayverse fans count as real fans. However, there's a central point that seems to be missing; not why do so many people want a sixth outing from the Bayverse, it's why did we not get a sixth outing from the Bayverse?

    It's AOE where we see things begin to fall apart. As @Autobot Burnout has said repeatedly, AOE was only successful because it was marketed heavily in China - in America, the domestic box office was almost $100 million lower than DOTM, before it was beaten by Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. In the UK, where I live, it lasted a week at the top spot, before Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and How To Train Your Dragon 2 stole its thunder; the latter of which had come out two weeks before it.

    The reason for that? The gross, brainless humour and gross, brainless violence of the previous Bayverse instalments turned family audiences, including adult fans hoping to introduce their children to the franchise, off.

    If you're a parent with young kids, why see a film where characters are brutally killed on screen and there's jokes about underage sex, when you could see How To Train Your Dragon 2 instead? Your child will not be exposed to inappropriate topics, the violence isn't overly gory and there's a more compelling story overall.

    For parents with older kids, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes offered a more compelling, character-driven film, which tells a story with deep and sophisticated themes.

    In August, both demographics could go and see Guardians of the Galaxy, which has enough action to appeal to older kids, but has enough bright colours and funny dialogue to keep younger kids entertained.

    These three films, in most non-China markets, did just as well as AOE - in fact, in some markets, they actually did better than AOE. AOE survived because it pandered to the Chinese market - unfortunately, they couldn't pull that off twice.

    The overt sexualisation of the female characters was another issue that turned off both family and female audiences from the film - I will compare my experiences with the first and last Bayverse films, a decade apart.

    When I was ten and the first Transformers came out, all the girls in my class went to see it and they enjoyed it just as much as the boys did. To us, it was a unigendered thing; no matter male or female, if you were in the Year 5/6 Class of '07 at Great Crosby Catholic Primary School, you'd seen Transformers.

    A decade later, when my older sister and I went to see TLK, she was the only woman in the room - and we had to change seats because some arsehole fourteen-year-olds behind us were implying that my sister was an [awful slur for transsexuals] because she was a woman going to see a Transformers movie.

    TL;DR: The Bayverse failed because, over time, it gradually alienated families and female audiences.
     
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  2. Autobot Burnout

    Autobot Burnout Dukeup Nukhead

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    I feel like that's trying to simply pin the blame on any single reason instead of multiple ones. If you look at the financials, AoE was the only film to make over a billion dollars (BARELY) at the box office for 2014, which was a bad year for films overall. And of course, a substantial amount of that came from China which AoE was a purpose-built vessel to appeal to, given the negotiated contracts with the government owned film industry, the heavy presence of locales familiar to Chinese audiences in the film, and big Chinese superstars being in the film even though they ultimately weren't even playing major roles (but I can't really remember AoE that well anyway so I could be wrong on that point).

    However, as proven at the beginning of 2015 mere months later, you had both Minions and Fast Seven both make over a billion dollars (and considerably both more successful than AoE) at the box office during the early winter months, typically a period where films expected to do that well are NOT released.

    The fact is, the franchise was suffering fatigue following DOTM and Paramount trying to have their cake and eat it to by essentially soft rebooting through AoE murdering all the secondary Autobots off screen, followed by being a three hour slog of poor writing, was only going to prolong the inevitable. After all, even the toyline for AoE suffered because IIRC Hasbro admitted they had reduced expectations for that line's performance and they didn't even hit those lowered expectations. If they'd simply rebooted outright in the interest of their stupid Transformers Cinematic Universe to actually have a foundation to build on instead of a trilogy of retcons, the film could have done significantly better.
     
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  3. Nathanoraptor

    Nathanoraptor Well-Known Member

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    I think my title was incorrectly worded - I was saying that the Bayverse alienated families and female audiences, with evidence that that had happened. However, to say it was because of this the Bayverse failed is incorrect.

    There are absolutely multiple reasons.

    Aside from Li Bingbing, none of the Chinese superstars played significant characters - there was a Chinese singer who literally played himself, in a car that's magnetised by Lockdown's ship.

    Didn't they try China-pandering in TLK, and it didn't work?

    Minions and Fast Seven were released in July and April - however, The Force Awakens, released at the end of 2015, made over a billion, and was considerably better received than AOE, so the core of your argument is still valid.

    Yeah - ultimately, it's all Paramount's fault. A reboot with a new creative team would have been a better option - rather than trying to kill of a bunch of side characters, create a bunch of story out of nothing, and "soft reboot" the film.

    My point was that the box office drop between DOTM and AOE was partly due to the fact that families were gravitating towards other, more child-friendly options, because of the gross, brainless humour and gross, brainless violence. Female audiences were also put off by the fact that the female characters were overtly sexualised.

    However, yeah, to say it was the only reason the Bayverse failed is very reductive.
     
  4. AustinLucas

    AustinLucas Banned

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    Bayverse failed because of the problems the Transformers sequels directed by Michael Bay had and Michael Bay didn't respect the sorce material unlike the director of Bumblebee himself Travis Knight
     
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  5. TheSoundwave

    TheSoundwave Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if I'd entirely agree. TLK was the movie that flopped, and that movie went out of it's way to market itself to females and children. The trailers heavily featured the "Stranger Things ripoff kids" and they pushed the whole "fight like a girl" thing. Meanwhile DOTM is still one of the highest-grossing movies of all time. And DOTM compared women to cars and featured the most graphic violence in the series (it's easily the least kid-friendly).

    I don't think the success or failure of the series depended on these things. There was obviously a huge audience for these movies for years, and that audience eventually dropped them. I think it was more about franchise fatigue, and audiences finally catching on to Bay's bag of tricks. With the rise of stuff like Marvel, audiences realized they could get the same sort of action-heavy movies, but with stronger storytelling and more developed characters.
     
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  6. pokemonsdoom

    pokemonsdoom Got bored and changed it back.

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    Huh guess I'm a minority. I loved the bayverse films
     
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  7. Novaburnhilde

    Novaburnhilde シン・ブリュンヒルド

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    Nah, that's pretty wildly oversimplifying an issue with many moving parts.

    The Bayverse was a failure for many reasons, audience alienation is probably among the issues but given how many normies saw these movies for as long as they did, I doubt it was that big of an issue. :lolol 

    Also not sure why you made a distinction with 'female audiences'. Further, is there any reason why you didn't post this response in the thread in question rather than make an entirely new thread for this? Since it seems to be related.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2020
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  8. ObakaChanTachi

    ObakaChanTachi you get what you give!

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    You made me realise how weird my taste in entertainment was as a kid. Watching movies about my toys where robots with testicle balls get brutally murdered and other robots pee and leg hump. It's like if Woody's TV show were a sci-fi horror movie instead of a western puppet show. Huh.

    It's kinda funny how weird the Bayverse really was. A commercial for 8+ kids toys targeted for PG-13 audiences, what the hell is that?
     
  9. TheSoundwave

    TheSoundwave Well-Known Member

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    This is one reason I've kind of come around to the Bay movies. I don't love them, but I sort of adore how weird and out-there they were. Nowadays franchise movies are often safe and overly faithful to the tone of the source material (like Marvel), or they aim for a dark and edgy crowd (like Batman V. Superman). But they still do it in a way that feels somewhat safe and calculated. The Transformers movies were just weird. They almost feel more like '90s/early 2000s movies than late 2000s/2010s movies. Back when all franchise movies were sort of weird and not overly reverent to their source material (like Godzilla or those Joel Schumacher Batman movies). They're a great example of an artist getting free-reign over a kid's brand, and saying "I'm going to do whatever the heck I want with it". Love the Bay movies or hate them, I don't think we're ever going see anything else like them again.
     
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  10. cybeast

    cybeast Well-Known Member

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    Here's a question, do we feel alienated because we're a fans and we're seeing it from fans' glasses, or do people really feel alienated? Because it seems general moviegoers have no problem with that, and only getting franchise fatigue.
     
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  11. Autobot Burnout

    Autobot Burnout Dukeup Nukhead

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    Good.
     
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  12. MV95

    MV95 @marlinfan1995 Veteran

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    32% of DOTM's opening weekend was under 18, while 55% were under 25
    'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' Draws Younger Audience, Bucking Trend

    Females also gave every single Bayverse film a higher rating than males on IMDb.

    Plus movies 3 and 4 made $1.1 billion, while movie 2 was in the top 10 in all time domestic box office at the time. The only failure was The Last Knight. Why? Because it sucked.
    Teenagers like mindless action. I know I did.

    Remember the sequel with all the penis jokes and the prostitute planet? Sounds like a Transformers movie.

    Everyone was talking about it because it was the very first Transformers movie. It was different.
    A lot of people on this site don't seem to like this thought, but general audiences were there for Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox. Megan Fox leaves, interest dipped a bit. Shia leaves, general audience says "It was nice, but peace out." If The Last Knight brought them back I genuinely think it would've boosted box office numbers.

    And all you really have on that point is that you ran into some stupid, immature teenagers.

    I just don't see any credibility at all in the idea that Transformers failed because kids and women didn't show up.
     
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  13. Galvatross

    Galvatross Nemesis of the Dreklords Veteran

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    I think way too many hardcore fans are out of touch with what teenage and twenty-something boys and girls want out of Transformers movies and instead project their own preferences onto general audience members without considering others may have different preferences.

    I don't even mind their absence by the way, but at least I can see past that and see that, to many general audiences, Shia and Megan Fox were important.

    I have said before that, rather than a photograph cameo, Sam Witwicky should have been the Burton character in The Last Knight. It would have been a logical progression of the character to be some guardian of Transformers lore in a castle with some hidden Autobots!

    If Transformers 6 in the Bayverse were ever to be a reality, I think nostalgia for Fox and Shia + continuing the story with the concepts and robots from the later movies could make for much better box office than The Last Knight did.
     
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  14. Applejacktimus

    Applejacktimus Likes Alpha Bravo

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    The Bayverse films failed for a vast myriad of reasons. I'd describe their failure in finding a sustainable demographic to be because - beyond the first one - their primary target audience was primitive, juvenile teenagers who enjoy the very American excess of lowest-common-denominator comedy, action, and horniness the films are filled with. (which, indeed, certainly wouldn't appeal to lots of female and family audiences) Middle and High Schoolers who were introduced to Transformers through the '07 film would definitely eat that up, but only to a point. Once they grew up and moved on, what the Bay films had become was just too bad to get into without TF07.
     
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  15. Markatron

    Markatron MarKreations Studios

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  16. Novaburnhilde

    Novaburnhilde シン・ブリュンヒルド

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    Another thing I didn't mention is that the Bay movies weren't enough of a failure for them to actually stop making them, so clearly it had an audience that kept seeing them. Don't get me wrong, they're awful, but they clearly made enough for awhile for Paramount to feel they were still a worthy investment. A similar deal happened with the Resident Evil films, absolutely garbage-tier films that are a horrible adaption of the games, yet they made 6 of those IIRC.

    Inevitably a movie like Transformers will appeal more towards men and boys than women and girls, because statistically men and women like different things. That said whenever I saw these movies in theaters it tended to be a pretty even spread, and yes kids were there too, sometimes babies. Because parents can be lazy and just don't care, which is also why their young kids will have access to games like CoD or Silent Hill.

    Imagine if someone tried to claim Twilight failed because it alienated males, or Fifty shades, or one of the hundreds of cut-and-paste rom-coms released yearly. :p 
     
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  17. ChaosDonkey

    ChaosDonkey Lord Brain

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    it failed because sometimes people need a break from mindless action summer blockbusters. And the lack of reinvention that was actually promised in a way, ended up tiring the audience.
     
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  18. TheSoundwave

    TheSoundwave Well-Known Member

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    I'm not entirely sure I agree. DOTM didn't have Megan Fox, and that was the most profitable. AOE didn't have Shia or Fox, and that was the second highest. If TLK had brought them back, I don't think it would have boosted the box office significantly. TLK wasn't lacking in star power. Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Laura Haddock. Neither Shia or Fox were extremely relevant by 2017, so I don't see their presence making a huge difference.

    Yeah, I think this was the main thing. No series can just indefinitely continue and expect to remain profitable. Part of the success of Marvel is that they're constantly reinventing themselves, especially when audiences begin to catch onto their tricks and formulas. The Bay movies made some small changes with AOE, but it wasn't enough of a reinvention. Same with TLK. TLK was supposed to be the start of a cinematic universe, and that really calls for a major palate cleanser. But they just sort of did the same thing again. Eventually audiences just got tired of seeing it.

    I think there's more to it than this, but I do think fatigue is the main factor in the series' decline.
     
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  19. Cliffjumper

    Cliffjumper And awaaaaaay we go!

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    I personally say that The bayverse died a slow death because it repeated the same 1 note "quest adventure with big explosions" for 5 Films and audiences around the world were gettung tired off it by TLK and everywhere around the world except Hong Kong/China with AOE.
     
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  20. MV95

    MV95 @marlinfan1995 Veteran

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    Well in that regard I'm talking about US box office only. DOTM did better worldwide than Revenge of the Fallen due to increased interest in Hollywood movies worldwide. Age of Extinction made just slightly less than DOTM due to China. Chinese audiences weren't attached to those actors, so it didn't really mean anything for them, but the US box office had been in steady decline.

    Shia and Megan might not be as relevant in a current popularity-sense, but they are heavily attached to Transformers popularity. But honestly I'd say Shia is still pretty relevant for not being in any big blockbusters recently, simply due to all his antics. Wahlberg is a popular actor, but that's mainly just due to the movies he's in. Not many people go to the movies only because he's in it. And no one goes to see Thor for Anthony Hopkins. Good actor yes, but I wouldn't say he has star power, especially with the younger crowd, which is the target audience. And Laura Haddock has absolutely no star power at all.
     
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