Bumblebee was hailed by critics as a surprising – and most welcome – reboot of the Transformers franchise.
Taking on a more classic, Spielberg-esque plot, and weighing more heavily on character rather than the trademark motion-sickness action sequences by previous director Michael Bay, it completely won over critics and audiences.
It scored a blazing 93 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and while it made a more modest $459 million, it signalled a potential new direction for the franchise.
But it seems that going forward, it could be back to more of the same.
Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura has said that future movies will feature ‘a little more Bayhem’.
“The audience had asked us several times, in different ways, ‘I want to get to know a Transformer better,’” he told Collider.
“We did that. In some respects, definitely a tip to what the audience had said to us. The interesting part is when you set out to do something like that, you don’t exactly know the ramifications of it.
“In this case, the ramification of it was, for the people who didn’t love the movie, was not enough action. Because you’re telling a more intimate story, therefore you can’t.
“Several lessons have come out of this. One is that we have the freedom to tell almost any story. The other is that, how strongly the audience identified with the strength of character and emotion.
“I know the next Transformer, our attempt anyway, is to sort of do a fusion of Bumblebee and the Bay movies…a little more Bayhem. And a little bit more of the character falling in love within the emotional dynamic of the movie.
“One of the things I want to do — and I hope we pull it off — is, we did it with Bumblebee because he’s so cute and he’s so accessible, but he can’t talk. I think the more human we can make these characters, the more people are going to like them.”
The Transformers movies had begun to suffer diminishing returns, the last in Bay’s series making $605 million, but having cost as much as $260 million.
This makes it quite possible that Bumblebee made less money not because of a lack of action, but because of the fatigue amongst fans for Bay’s relentless style and abandonment of plot.
Bumblebee, which starred Hailee Steinfeld and John Cena, still featured action sequences, performing that balancing act deftly, so it remains to be seen whether upping the action is the route back to the billion dollar box office hauls of Bay’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Transformers: Age of Extinction.
Travis Knight, who made Kubo and the Two Strings for the respected animation studio Laika, has said he’s returning to the studio, where he is CEO, though he added that he had some possible ideas for a Bumblebee sequel.
Di Bonaventura confirmed earlier this month that sequels to both Bumblebee and Transformers: The Last Knight are in development.