The New ‘Transformers’ Bit It at the Box Office, and it Couldn’t Matter Less


Transformers: The Last Knight, the latest installment of cinema’s unquestionably stupidest goddamn franchise, a series so terrible that, yes, we’d rather drink arsenic than see it, opened last Wednesday, and predictably topped the weekend box office. But wait, there’s more! Its $45 million opening weekend (69.1 million counting the Wednesday/Thursday head start) is far and away the lowest of the series to date – falling short of the $70 million of the original ten years ago, the $97 million of 2011’s Dark of the Moon, the $100 million of 2014’s Age of Extinction, and the $108 million of the first sequel, 2009’s Revenge of the Fallen. Why, it’s almost as if audiences are growing tired of these two-plus hour frontal lobe assaults! Or maybe “Jesus, I can’t wait to stop making these” wasn’t the savviest press tour theme?

Anyway, nice work America, you’re finally crying “uncle” to these garbage movies, in the best way possible – because reviews are one thing, but if they’re not making money, they stop making them. Huzzah?

Oh wait. Turns out other countries have money to spend on shitty movies too, and they’re making Transformers: The Last Knight into another hit – it brought in $196 million worldwide, including a jaw-dropping $123 million from China alone. That’s a grand total of $258 million for the weekend, and a reminder that the dunder-headed dialogue and nonsensical narratives of these Transformers flicks matter naught; that stuff doesn’t translate anyway. World audiences look to American movies for shiny spectacle and stuff blowing up real good, and they’re getting it.

And not just from Transformers. Domestic flop The Mummy has grossed $342 million worldwide; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, a film I’d literally forgotten even existed, has brought in $677 million globally. So if you were hoping the failure of those flicks stateside would cause studios to rethink their tent-pole-based model, think again. We’re not even their audience anymore.