In past two weeks there was already a lot of talk on Bayformers future, but I would like to give the subject a little more attention and broaden the scope to TCU or any potential future Transformers live-action movies. TLK did not do well with the audience compared to previous installments. Some people point blame to poor critical reception and low RT score. Some that the poor critical reception finally caught up to the franchise or that it's the franchise fatigue. TLK looks like an outlier in the light of these hypothesis, altthough AOE scores might have hinted at some semblance of franchise fatigue. Since poor critical reception was the constant in past installments and it did not put the dent in box office numbers I would look for the reason in other places. Let's give the audience a closer look. TLK did not have a good word of mouth which resulted in B+ at Cinemascore. It hints that the audience was somewhat disappointed with what they got. The other important matter to note is that TLK did not have a strong social media buzz prior to release. Sites that track those numbers (like Pro Box Office) a month before premiere predicted that the opening run would be around $75M. Before the reviews set in and before the audience word got out, the demand from the market was already low despite the December teaser breaking viewership records. So the question is why did the people decide that they don't need another TF movie? Let's focus on the audience who saw the movie first. Bay movies are known for car chases, robot action, military action, big destruction and hot chicks. In general audience eyes they are summer action movies you watch for the action. So how did it fare in these departments compared to previous installments? 1) Content. TLK did not have a standout car chase comparative to sequences in DOTM, TF1 or even AOE. Despite increased robot presence in the movie, there was no memorable robot action bar a little out of focus Bumblebee and Optimus fight. AOE had Optimus vs Grimlock and vs Lockdown, plus Dinobot charge. ROTF had the forest battle and so on. Both ROTF and DOTM had prominent military presence, it was smaller in TF1 and almost nonexistent in AOE. TLK only supported brief military action. In TF1, DOTM and AOE we had wide city destruction caused by robot fighting, the Driller or giant magnets. TLK had none of those (altthough the finale still looked visually stunning). When it comes to hot chicks TLK was much toned down in that department. While wearing a form-fitting dress in her introduction, later in the movie Viviane exchanged her clothes for baggy overalls. To sum up: It looks like TLK did not deliver the standard Bay fare and there goes the segment of the audience interested in that. 2) Demographic. Early this year we had a promotional campaign putting Izzy as the face of the movie, accompanied by a bunch of other kids. Did it mean that Cade would be delegated to a supporting mentor role? That move resulted in some segment of audience declaring not to see the movie that did not feature adult male lead. There were also some segments of the audience that showed interest. However, the studio did not follow on this promo, and next materials were focused on military, Cade and Viviane. It resulted in a mixed target audience and confusion. Is TLK aiming for family crowd or do they still aim for their regular, older audience? Despite toning down the violence, TLK noted an increased number of profanities, further discouraging the family crowd. Setting up Viviane as the most important human plot-wise and sidelining Cade might have once more missed the target demographic, or perhaps they were adressing the movie to the wrong crowd? The targeted demographic mixup might have influenced the audience decision to see TLK. 3) Prominent Sci-fi and Fantasy elements. Transformers has been viewd by many as an action-oriented franchise with giant robots and Independance Day undertones. It had more in common with Mission Impossible than Edge of Tomorrow. TLK changed that setting. The mix of both Fantasy and SciFi elements with some dystopian near-future themes might have turned off some regular audience. Pure SciFi or fantasy movies are not in the demand at the moment (Ghost in the Shell, Power Rangers, Prometheus, King Arthur and so on). TLK looked like both. The audience that liked the action-oriented Transformers might have moved their attention to Fast and Furious or Baby Driver since TF decide to embrace their more SciFi roots. 4) The rise of Fast and Furious. The new FF made first waves in 2011, it was followed by another successful entry in 2013, breaking records in 2015 and dominating international box office in 2017. TF had three movies in the same time span: DOTM, the final chapter in the first trilogy, AOE, a soft reboot stuck between FF6 and F7 and TLK that clashed with F8 carried on the waves of three previous entries in an established franchise. Both series cover the blockbuster corner of action-oriented franchises and probably support the same audience demographic. Due to long breaks between entries, I think that Transformers lost its momentum to rising Fast and Furious. So were does all of this leave the Transformers franchise? Should it try to reclaim the action movie crown? Should it explore its SciFi/Fantasy setting and hope that it manages to capture the audience attention that right now is more interested in Game of Thrones and Westworld? Aim for a family crowd? What space in the Hollywood landscape should live-action TF movies occupy to be comercially successful?