Paramount Pictures will be promoting the new Transformers spinoff “Bumblebee” at San Diego Comic-Con this year, hinting at a shift in marketing for the expanding franchise. While the Transformers franchise as a whole has been wildly popular since the first film debuted back in 2007, the 2017 release of “Transformers: The Last Knight” fell far below expectations. The Studio is bringing the troubled franchise to SDCC for the first time ever and that’s not the only major change the studio has planned to win back the fans.
The “Bumblebee” panel itself will include star Hailee Steinfeld and director Travis Knight. The studio went with a female-lead for the spinoff, the previous films featured Shia LaBeouf and Mark Wahlberg. Women in the Transformers franchise usually took the role of the sporadic love interests and were not heavily featured. Going with a female-lead is probably a smart move, as male-driven installments and story-lines in the franchise have plateaued and box-office receipts have dwindled. Steinfeld, a musician and actor, also has an incredibly large fan-base on her own and will most likely lure teens and young adults across several key demographics into theaters.
Heading into SDCC, Paramount Pictures will have the studio itself, Steinfeld, and various news outlets all promoting the film online and on social-media. The role of Bumblebee will be voiced by John Cena, and the actor/wrestler has a tremendous following of his own. It will be surprising if Cena isn’t a surprise guest at the event, but either way, Cena’s online social-media presence will be a welcome tool as the studio promotes the film at SDCC.
The franchise certainly can use the promotion. As we stated earlier, all of these changes stem from “Transformers: The Last Knight” and the film’s lackluster box-office run. The first installment in the franchise made over $319M domestically before reaching $709M globally; and the sequel made $402M domestically before topping $836M worldwide. Things were going well and “Transformers 3” was the first film in the franchise to break $1B worldwide. Following that success, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and “Transformers: Age of Extinction” both hit the $1B mark worldwide following their release dates. Finally we end with “Transformers: The Last Knight,” a film that only made $130M domestically and just $605M worldwide. That’s still a lot of money but only a fraction of what the previous films made. That’s why we have a spinoff, a new female lead, and a presence at San Diego Comic-Con this year.
It will be interesting to see if the changes work and Paramount Pictures succeeds in bringing fans of the franchise back to theaters. We will most likely get a new trailer at SDCC this year, as the film readies for its December release date.