I thought Paramount brass would plotz when Michael Bay recently boasted to Forbes magazine that he made $80 million on the first Transformers‘ $708 million worldwide gross. (His piece is largely based on the film’s profits — usually 1/3 of the take after the studio recoups its production and advertising costs). So I’ve learned that Transformers 2 costs $200M (not counting the usual $25M that journalists like me add to compensate for studio obfuscation), and the sequel should open between $160M and $175M for its first 5 days from Wednesday, June 24 to Sunday, June 28. What’s this pic gonna gross worldwide? How much of it will Michael take home? I can’t think of a better reason for Bay-haters to detest him even more after reading this or that his deal with Hasbro (second only to George Lucas’) gives Bay an estimated 8% on Transformer toys tied to the movies.
This morning Michael Bay also isn’t very popular in movie-crazy Korea. According to the local press coverage, the director felt compelled to send a note of apology to press and fans because his recent publicity tour really pissed them off. On June 9th, the evening of the Transformers 2 Seoul premiere, about 600 waited in the rain over two hours for the red carpet event with Michael Bay and stars Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox. But the entourage arrived way late and were able to spend only a few minutes with the crowd. Then they arrived way late again for the next day’s press conference, and several media members staged a walkout. Internet bloggers in Korea, where web piracy runs amok, even started a campaign to boycott the film in theaters. Bay has been trying to explain that Korea wasn’t on the world tour but he insisted on it knowing the success of the first film in the country. I think he should just pay everyone off.