Transformers: Age of Extinction

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Transformers: Age of Extinction
Transformers Age of Extinction Poster.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Bay
Produced by
Written by Ehren Kruger
Based on Transformers 
by Hasbro
Starring
Music by Steve Jablonsky
Cinematography Amir Mokri
Edited by
Production
  company
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s)
  • June 19, 2014 (2014-06-19) (Hong Kong)
  • June 27, 2014 (2014-06-27) (United States)
Running time 165 minutes[2]
Country
  • United States
  • China[3]
Language English
Budget $210 million[4][5]
Box office $597,396,529[6]

Transformers: Age of Extinction is a 2014 science fiction action film based on the Transformers franchise. It is the fourth installment of the live-action Transformers film series and stars Mark Wahlberg in the lead role. A sequel to Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the film takes place five years after the invasion of Chicago. Like its predecessors, the film is directed by Michael Bay[7] and executive produced by Steven Spielberg. The screenplay is written by Ehren Kruger, who has served as screenwriter since Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The film features an entirely new cast of human characters and is the first in the series to feature the Dinobots. Returning Transformers include Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Ratchet, Leadfoot, and Brains. The film was released on June 27, 2014, in IMAX and 3D.[8]

Upon release, the film's reception was negative - critics expressed dislike for the acting, directing, writing and length, though some praised the action scenes, visual effects, and Wahlberg's and Tucci's performances. It received an average rating of 17% on Rotten Tomatoes, making it the lowest rated film of the franchise. The film performed well at the box office despite this, grossing more than $597 million worldwide.

Plot

Sixty-five million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period, beings known as the Creators detonate many "Seeds", wiping out most life on Earth. In the present, a geologist named Darcy discovers a dinosaur corpse covered in a strange metal.

Five years have passed since the Battle of Chicago.[9] Cade Yeager, a struggling inventor, and his friend Lucas buy an old truck to strip it for parts in hopes of sending Cade's daughter Tessa to college. Cade soon discovers that the truck is an injured Optimus Prime and repairs him. Meanwhile, Cemetery Wind, an elite CIA unit headed by paranoid agent Harold Attinger, has been tasked with hunting down the remaining Decepticons. However, he secretly hunts down both Autobots and Decepticons. With the help of a Transformer bounty hunter named Lockdown, they brutally kill Ratchet and Leadfoot on separate occasions. After finding out that Optimus is in Texas, the unit and Lockdown travel there and threaten Cade, Tessa, and Lucas. Optimus comes out of hiding and attacks the operatives, allowing Cade and his friends to escape. They are saved by Shane Dyson, Tessa's secret boyfriend, and after a lengthy chase they get away from the unit. However, Lucas is killed by Lockdown's grenade. Optimus rallies the remaining Autobots: Bumblebee, Hound, Drift, and Crosshairs. Cade hacks into a drone he took from the attack in Texas, and learns that Cemetery Wind is working with a corporation called KSI. They decide to infiltrate KSI headquarters in Chicago for information.

Meanwhile, Joshua Joyce, the head of KSI, shows Darcy that he has perfected transformium, a codeable, molecularly unstable metal that the Transformers are made of. He has imprisoned Brains to decode dead Transformers' brains and put them into the human-created Transformers. He shows Darcy his prized creation, Galvatron, who was created using data from Megatron's brain.

Once he infiltrates the facility, Cade finds the KSI scientists melting down Ratchet's head. Infuriated, Optimus and the Autobots storm the facility, break Brains out, and start to destroy it. Joyce stops them and explains that humans don't need Autobots anymore, as they can create their own Transformers. Disgusted, the Autobots leave the facility. Attinger forces Joyce to launch Galvatron and Stinger and go after the Autobots. Galvatron and Optimus battle before Lockdown shoots Optimus. Tessa gets trapped and she, along with Optimus, are brought aboard Lockdown's ship. He locks Optimus in the middle of his trophy room, which also carries the Dinobots, legendary knights that Lockdown imprisoned. He explains that the Creators want Optimus back. Before he leaves, Lockdown gives Attinger a Seed, a bomb that can cyberform (turn to transformium) any area of land, giving Cade, Shane, and the Autobots time to board the ship. Cade and Shane save Tessa, and, with the help of Crosshairs and Bumblebee, are able to escape. Shortly after, Hound and Drift save Optimus and leave before Lockdown enters deep space. Optimus and Brains reveal that Galvatron is Megatron reincarnated, and that he has been manipulating KSI to make an army and steal the Seed in order to wipe out humans and create more Decepticons. Cade warns Joyce, who retreats to Hong Kong with Darcy and his business associate Su Yueming to get a military extract, thus betraying Attinger.

In Beijing, Galvatron activates by himself and corrupts all prototype Transformer drones to do his bidding. One of his minions shoots down the Autobots' ship. Hound and Bumblebee jump out and struggle to protect the humans. Knowing this, Optimus releases and tames the Dinobots. With their help, they destroy Galvatron's army. Lockdown then appears and uses a magnetic weapon in an effort to reclaim Optimus and the Dinobots. However, Optimus destroys it and proceeds to fight Lockdown. Cade tries to help but is held at gunpoint by Attinger. Seeing Cade in danger, Optimus kills Attinger, which allows Lockdown to gain the upper hand and impale Optimus with his own sword. Cade and Bumblebee distract Lockdown while Tessa and Shane take the sword out of Optimus, who proceeds to kill Lockdown. Galvatron retreats, vowing to battle Optimus another day. Optimus sets the Dinobots free before flying into space with the Seed, sending a message to the Creators to leave Earth alone and that he is coming for them.

Cast

Humans

Ray Lui and Michael Wong were cast as Hong Kong police officers.[24] Han Geng has a cameo, singing and playing the guitar in a parked car that is magnetized by Lockdown's ship.[25] General Motors Vice President of Design Edward T. Welburn has a cameo appearance.[26]

Transformers

Autobots

Dinobots

Decepticons

  • Galvatron (voiced by Frank Welker), a human-made Transformer who becomes possessed by Megatron's mind, thus making him a new body for the Decepticon leader. He transforms into a black and grey 2014 Freightliner Argosy cab over trailer. He has been secretly aiding the human governments in creating their own Transformers for him to control so he can steal the Seed for himself and rebuild the Decepticon army.[30][31][33][34]
  • Stinger, a human-made Transformer who becomes a Decepticon spy and sabotage specialist. He transforms into a red and black 2013 Pagani Huayra.[28][29][30][31]
  • Junkheap, a human-made Transformer who becomes a Decepticon under Galvatron's control. He transforms into a Chinese garbage truck of Waste Management, Inc.[35]
  • Traxes, mass-produced human-made drones who become Decepticons under Galvatron's control. They transform into different colored Chevrolet Traxes.[36]

Others

  • Lockdown (voiced by Mark Ryan), An intergalactic bounty hunter, aligned with neither side, who transforms into a grey 2013 Lamborghini Aventador LP 700–4 Coupe, is working with Attinger to capture Optimus Prime for the humans in exchange for the Seed from the him, being provided unlimited access to all of Attinger's CIA resources. Lockdown is working for unknown alien life forms whom he claims are the creators of the Transformers.[28][30] He has a group of unknown humanoid robots and a pack of techno-organic wolves called Steeljaws under his command.
  • The Creators, an unknown race of aliens whom Lockdown claims are the Transformers' creators. They are seen very briefly in the film's opening when they use multiple Seeds to cyberform Earth, exterminating the dinosaurs. Years later they hired Lockdown to apprehend Optimus Prime for unknown reasons.

Production

Development

During production for Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Shia LaBeouf and Michael Bay confirmed that they would not return for a fourth installment of the franchise.[37] Roland Emmerich, Joe Johnston, Jon Turteltaub, Stephen Sommers, Louis Leterrier and David Yates were rumored to replace Bay.[38] Jason Statham was rumored to star in the fourth installment. Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner revealed that he was able to announce the film as he was talking with Steven Spielberg, Bay and Paramount.[39] There were rumors that the fourth and fifth installment would be shot back-to-back with Statham as the lead role, which he and Bay denied.[40] Spielberg hoped Bay would return for a fourth installment.[41]

After final negotiations with Bay to direct the film,[42] producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura confirmed that there would be a fourth film in the franchise.[43] In February 2012, Paramount Pictures and Michael Bay announced that Bay would be producing and directing a fourth Transformers film, scheduled for a June 27, 2014 release.[44][45] The film continues the story in Transformers: Dark of the Moon,[16] taking place four years later.[46] Ehren Kruger and Steve Jablonsky returned to write the script and the score, respectively.[47] In April 2013, it was announced that China Movie Channel and Jiaflix Enterprises would co-produce the film with Paramount.[48][49]

On September 1, 2013, Fusible revealed three possible titles for Transformers 4, which were Transformers: Last Stand, Transformers: Future Cast, and Transformers: Apocalypse. On September 2, TFW 2005 revealed one last possible title, Transformers: Age of Extinction.[50][51] On September 3, 2013, Paramount released an official teaser poster for the film, revealing the title to be Transformers: Age of Extinction.[52]

Casting

In November 2012, Mark Wahlberg was cast in the film.[10] Also in November 2012, The Hollywood Reporter reported that casting had began for two additional leads: the daughter to Wahlberg's character and her boyfriend, a race car driver. Isabelle Cornish, Nicola Peltz, Gabriella Wilde and Margaret Qualley were all considered for the role of the daughter, while Luke Grimes, Landon Liboiron, Brenton Thwaites, Jack Reynor and Hunter Parrish were all considered for the boyfriend. The leads are contracted for three films.[15] In January 2013, Reynor was cast as the boyfriend,[16] and in March 2013, Nicola Peltz was cast as Wahlberg's daughter.[14]

Peter Cullen reprises his role as the voice of Optimus Prime.[27] Glenn Morshower stated in September 2012 that he would appear in the next two films, reprising his role of General Morshower, but Morshower announced in May 2013 that he would not be able to appear in the new films due to a scheduling conflict.[53] In April 2013, Bay revealed that actor Stanley Tucci had joined the cast.[54] On May 1, 2013, actor Kelsey Grammer was cast as the lead human villain named Harold Attinger.[55] On May 6, 2013, actress Sophia Myles was cast in a major role.[17] That same month, Chinese actress Li Bingbing and comedian T. J. Miller joined the cast.[56] On July 14, 2013, Bay announced that Han Geng had joined the cast.[25] That same month, Titus Welliver also joined the cast.[20]

Filming

Bay announced that filming had begun on May 28, 2013, alongside the announcement that they had begun filming in Monument Valley, Utah. Detroit, Michigan, was used as a stand-in for Hong Kong[57] while McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, was redressed to portray a city in China.[58] It was the first feature film to be shot using smaller digital IMAX 3D cameras.[54] In addition, the film was shot on a variety of other formats, including IMAX 70mm film cameras, digital stereo 3D, and anamorphic and spherical 35mm film.[59] Through May 28 to June 24, 2013, Michael Bay uploaded photographs of several cars that will feature in the film, all of which are apparently Autobots. They were uploaded to his social networks including Facebook and Flickr. The film featured two unknown Autobots who transformed into a black and blue 2013 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse (going by production name "Drift"), and a green 2014 C7 Corvette Stingray concept (going by production name "Slingshot"). Also revealed is a truck from Western Star Trucks would be Optimus Prime's new alternate mode. The Dinobots and Lockdown were confirmed to appear. On October 29, Michael Bay's Official Twitter Account tweeted that the principal photography of Transformers 4 is done in Hong Kong and they would be heading to mainland China. According to previous reports, Bay and crew would be filming in China for 1 week.[60] Additional filming in Detroit began in early 2014; a pair of steamships (Columbia and Ste. Clair) which once joined Detroit to Bois Blanc Island's amusement park were partially restored as props for the movie.[61]

Incidents

On October 17, 2013, while filming in Hong Kong, Bay was assaulted by two brothers surnamed Mak, who demanded a payment of HK$100,000 (US$12,900). The elder brother had also assaulted three police officers during the incident. Both brothers and a third man surnamed Chan were arrested on suspicion of assault, with the younger Mak also charged on suspicion of blackmail.[62] The Mak brothers pleaded guilty to both charges in February 2014. The two brothers eventually ended up in jail, with the prosecutor citing that the case had attracted a great deal of media attention and affected Hong Kong's image.[63]

Music

Skrillex worked on sound design for the film, having said that he was creating "the craziest Skrillex sounds I could ever make" and mentioned working on sounds for the Dinobots.[64][65]

Imagine Dragons wrote a single specifically for the film itself, titled "Battle Cry", that was implemented in key parts of the film by Michael Bay. Imagine Dragons also worked with Steve Jablonsky and Hans Zimmer to contribute additional music to the film's score.[66]

Linkin Park's new single "Until It's Gone" is included in the video game soundtrack of the movie.[67]

On June 30, 2014, an EP was released on iTunes, featuring four tracks from the soundtrack score.[68]

Marketing

The first televised advertisement for Transformers: Age of Extinction aired during Super Bowl XLVIII. In a poll by Fandango, the spot was determined to be the most anticipated film trailer to be shown, receiving 48% of the vote in the poll.[69] The first official teaser trailer was released on March 4, 2014.[70] A viral marketing campaign was started for the film upon the teaser trailer's release.[71] On March 30, 2014, a shortened version of the teaser trailer was aired during the season 4 finale of The Walking Dead. Another shortened version of the teaser trailer was aired during the 2014 MTV Movie Awards.

Chevrolet aired a commercial at the New York International Auto Show featuring General Motors vehicles with clips from the film, along with putting them on display.[72]

Hasbro released an app on May 8 surrounding the film available for iOS and Android devices, allowing users to access exclusive material such as character biographies, images, and interviews with the stars, among other things.[73] A clip featuring never-before-seen scenes from the film and an interview with Imagine Dragons aired during The Voice on May 12, 2014.

DeNA and Hasbro teamed up to construct an official mobile video game for the film. The game was first announced on May 13, 2014, though, the title is still in active development.[74] Also on this date, Oreo launched a marketing campaign to promote the film.[75] This included a television commercial where a boy gives a wounded Optimus Prime an Oreo cookie to continue the fight.[76]

An exclusive theatrical trailer debuted on May 15 on iTunes Movie Trailers at 12:01 AM Pacific Standard Time.[77] On May 21, 2014, two television spots appeared online, both containing new footage from the film.[78] The film's viral campaign updated on May 22, showcasing all-new posters and realistic news reports of the damage done to Chicago from the third film.[79] Three more television spots, all sporting new footage, appeared online on May 30, 2014.[80][81][82]

Imagine Dragons's single for the film officially released online on June 2, 2014.[83]

Jack Reynor and Nicola Peltz made multiple appearances in the Twin Cities on June 8, 2014. During an appearance on the The Morning Show (Canadian TV series), both Reynor and Peltz promised big things that would please fans.[84] Kelsey Grammer made an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman on June 9, 2014. During his visit, the very first clip from the film debuted, showcasing Grammer's character and Wahlberg's in a heated argument. During the first commercial break for the show, a brand new television spot aired.[85] On June 10, 2014, two television spots appeared online, both containing extensive new footage from the film.[86]

Three more television spots appeared online on June 14, 2014, containing new footage of the Dinobots transforming and of Lockdown speaking.[87][88] On June 17, a brand new television spot aired on Comedy Central containing new footage.[89] Another television spot appeared online on June 18, sporting new footage as well.[90]

Video game

In February 2014, Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark was announced as a companion to the film. It was released in June 2014 for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.[91]

Critical reception

The film was panned by critics. Based on 150 reviews collected by the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, Age of Extinction has received an overall rating average of 17%, making it the worst-reviewed film of the franchise. The site's critical consensus reads: "With the fourth installment in Michael Bay's blockbuster Transformers franchise, nothing is in disguise: Fans of loud, effects-driven action will find satisfaction, and all others need not apply."[92] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 32 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[93]

Richard Roeper gave the film a D, saying that "the longer the movie goes on, the less interesting it becomes; it just wears you down. As we were finally reaching the 165-minute mark, all that noise and fury was about as exciting as the special effects in an Ed Wood movie."[94] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film zero out of four stars, calling it "the worst and most worthless Transformers movie yet."[95] Kyle Smith of the New York Post gave the film one-and-a-half out of four stars, commenting that "This series was never good, but it was once fun, or at least flashy. Now that its gears have gone rusty, it’s time for an Alien vs. Predator-style rethink."[96] A. O. Scott of The New York Times said in his review that "The story is scaffolding for the action, and like every other standing structure it is wrecked in a thunderous shower of metal, glass, masonry and earth."[97] Clarence Tsui of The Hollywood Reporter commented on his review that it "barely skirts the idea that humankind and planet Earth are about to be totally annihilated. What is extinguished is the audience's consciousness after being bombarded for nearly three hours with overwrought emotions ('There's a missile in the living room!' Tessa hollers — twice), bad one-liners and battles that rarely rise above the banal. A trio of editors make a technical marvel out of the fight scenes, but can do little to link the story's multiple threads into something coherent."[98] Roth Cornet of IGN gave the film a score of 6.3 out of 10, praising the slightly darker/surprising tone and Lockdown and his ship while criticizing the logic/script issues and long running time.[99] Joe Neumaier of the New York Daily News gave the film one out of five stars, commenting that "If the 'human scenes' all reek of adolescent dialogue and dopey snark masquerading as character development, it's a toss-up if that's better or worse than seeing clattering collections of caliginous junk."[100] In CinemaScore polls, users gave the film an "A-" on an F to A+ scale compared to the "B+" that the original film had scored and "A" for both the second and third movie.[101]

Release

Box office

The film had its world premiere in Hong Kong on June 19, with a live concert by Imagine Dragons.[102]

Worldwide

As of July 8, 2014, Transformers: Age of Extinction has grossed $185,396,529 in the United States and Canada and $412,000,000 in other markets, for a worldwide total of $597,396,529. [103] Worldwide, it is the ninety-first highest-grossing film and the fourth highest-grossing film of 2014. It reached a milestone of $400 million (6 days), $500 million (10 days).[104]

North America

The film was released in 4,233 theaters across North America and earned $8.75 million on midnight screenings which is the third biggest in 2014 behind Godzilla ($10.5 million) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($9.2 million).[105] On Friday the film grossed an additional $31.25 million bringing it's total day gross to $41.6 million, which includes $10.7 million from IMAX theaters, making it the biggest opening for a film in 2014. In its debut weekend the film grossed $100,038,390 ($22,633 per theater), which is the 27th largest and 4th largest overall for Paramount.[106] It is the fourth largest opening for a film released in June behind Man of Steel ($116 million), Toy Story 3 ($110 million), and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ($108 million).[107] The opening-weekend audience was evenly split among those under and over the age of 25, with 58%, male, 64%, and 27% under 18 years old.[108] The film grossed $36.4 million in the Fourth of July weekend (down 64%) and earned $54.8 million (Wednesday to Sunday) for a total of $174.7 million in North America.[109]

Outside North America

Transformers: Age of Extiction was released internationally on more than 10,152 screens. In its opening weekend, the film grossed $301.3 million worldwide, which is the 13th largest ever and second largest for Paramount.[110] The film grossed more than $201 million from 37 foreign markets, and $100 million in North America, giving it a $301.3 million first-weekend gross worldwide. The film set a worldwide IMAX opening-weekend record with $27.3 million (previously held by The Dark Knight Rises) [111][112][113] Its biggest opener outside the U.S. was in China, where it scored one of the biggest non-North American openings of all time with $92 million, which includes $10 million from IMAX.[114] Other openings include Russia ($21.7 million), South Korea ($21.5 million[115]), Australia ($10 million), Taiwan ($8.3 million), and Hong Kong ($4.8 million[116]). In India, the film was distributed by Viacom 18 and opened in 1400 screens in 770 locations and earned ₹32 crore ($5.3 million) in it's opening weekend which is the third highest for a Hollywood title (behind The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($6.92 million) and The Amazing Spider-Man ($5.7 million).[117][118]

Age of Extinction earned $95.8 million in its second week from 37 territories. In China, the film grossed $50.9 million in its second weekend for a total of $212.8 million. With $222.74 million, it's the highest-grossing film in China, having surpassed Avatar ($222.74 million).[119][120][121]

Authenticity over box office performance

On July 1, 2014 there was controversy over the film's North American box office performance. In its debut weekend the film grossed $100,038,000, which is the highest opening for a film in 2014. However, various critics and reviewers have assumed that Paramount inflated the number. Rival Studio claimed that the figure was close to $97 million.[122] Anita Busch from Deadline wrote:

'They’re lying,’ said one distribution head at a major studio. Said another, ‘I don’t get it. Is it just arrogance? What is the point of inflating your box office numbers? So they can claim the first $100M movie opening of the year? Oh please, who cares? It’s a great opening anyway.’ One insider at Paramount with knowledge of the financials told Deadline that there [have] been concerns that there could be more layoffs if Transformers 4 didn’t hit the $100M mark. So maybe that’s what’s going on. Even so, everyone in town and I mean everyone has it much less than $100M.[123]

Future sequels

A Hasbro presentation from Vilsco Textiles revealed that a fifth Transformers film was in development and had a planned 2017 release. Paramount Pictures' Rob Moore stated that there have been talks for a fifth and sixth installment.[124]

On June 18, 2014, Paramount Pictures Senior Vice President Edward Ryan promised a fifth Transformers film to be released in 2016. Ryan also predicted that Age of Extinction would be the biggest movie of the season.[125]

See also

References

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