I can confirm that Paramount and Michael Bay are only going to make one movie at a time: Transformers 4. And not the back-to-back Transformers 4 and 5 which Hasbro top executive Brian Goldner said was a real possibility in a Wall Street earnings call last financial quarter. Bay is starting production on Pain And Gain in April with Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson for Paramount. That’s part of his 2-picture deal with the studio announced tonight saying Bay is officially committed next to the Transformers franchise fourquel for June 27, 2014. I’m told Bay is meeting with executive producer Steven Spielberg now to flush out ideas while the studio is in the process of hiring a writer. MichaelBay.com promises that the next installment “will bring audiences a new take on the Transformers franchise” based on the Hasbro toyline.
So why did Paramount make this stealth Michael Bay-Transformers 4 and 2-picture deal announcement at 7:15 PM Los Angeles time? I’ve learned it’s because Lorenzo di Bonaventura has a big mouth. One of the producers along with Don Murphy, Tom DeSanto and Ian Bryce, Di Bonaventura today spilled the beans without warning anybody. In fact the studio was still polishing its press statement for tomorrow.
The result is that Paramount is furious at di Bonaventura, and Michael Bay “went crazy” on him as well, an insider tells me. “Lorenzo was at a toy fair and someone sticks a camera in his face. So Lorenzo goes on this 60-second tirade speaking on behalf of everyone — the studio, Michael Bay — and it’s inappropriate.” The result is that MTV got a nice video exclusive of Di Bonaventura saying Bay will direct the next Transformers and calling it a “reboot” which is kind of odd but also intriguing.
Anyway the producer is in the dog house at Paramount (just like he put himself in the dog house at Warner Bros for shooting off his mouth that time, too). I can’t wait to see how Paramount punishes him. Maybe by borrowing a page from former Paramount chief Michael Eisner who one day got mad at Larry Gordon and threw him off the lot by emptying the producer’s offices onto the sidewalks. “The locks haven’t been changed on Lorenzo’s offices — yet…” a studio bigwig tells me.
Here’s the MTV interview with do Bonaventura: