It’s safe to say that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen had a pretty good opening weekend.
The latest chapter in Michael Bay’s Transformers saga earned $201.2 million, which set the five-day record for a Wednesday launch (handily beating Spider-Man 2, which earned $152.5 million in its first five days). On Wednesday alone, it earned $60.6 million, which broke Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’s one-day record for a Wednesday premiere.
In fact, there is only one film that earned more money in five days than Revenge of the Fallen … The Dark Knight (which was released on a Friday, like God intended). The Dark Knight barely beat Revenge of the Fallen, making $203.8 million in its first five days. (Just imagine how well The Dark Knight could have done if they had gone with Michael Bay’s script).
This raises an obvious question …
What the hell is wrong with you, America?
Seriously, what is going on here? What was it about Transformers 2 that made everyone feel like they needed to see it opening weekend? I find it hard to believe that racial stereotypes and wrecking ball testicles were enough to convince people to rush out and see this film. Did Michael Bay call each moviegoer up and personally threaten to blow up their houses with a visually stunning and “totally bad ass” explosion if they didn’t rush out and see this film? Was there an Internet rumor floating around that Megan Fox had a steamy sex scene with Bumblebee? Or that Shia LaBeouf had a steamy sex scene with Bumblebee? Or that Megan Fox and Shia LaBeouf had a steamy threesome with Bumblebee?
Last summer, I knew that The Dark Knight was going to have a huge opening weekend (although, as someone who has seen every Batman film on opening night, I admit I’m a bit biased). Christopher Nolan was already a respected director before taking over the Batman franchise and he had already shown what he was capable of doing with the character in Batman Begins, so everyone was excited to see how he would follow up that solidly entertaining film. Plus, there was a lot of buzz surrounding Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker even before he died. When he did die shortly after finishing filming, that added a whole new level of mystique to the film and his role in it. People who might not have necessarily rush out to see the film wanted to go just to see his performance. Add in a brilliant marketing campaign leading up to the release and it’s no big surprise that it had a record-setting opening weekend.
Revenge of the Fallen had none of that. Michael Bay’s directing style is practically a punchline these days. The first Transformers movie wasn’t terrible, but I have yet to talk to anyone who thought it was a great film. It had a few entertaining moments (and quite a few painful ones) and if you were a fan of watching giant CGI robots fight, then it had enough action to keep you entertained. So I can’t really imagine anyone walked away from the first film thinking, “God, I can’t wait to see what Michael Bay does next with these characters.” The actors definitely aren’t on the level of those in The Dark Knight and there certainly wasn’t any buzz surrounding any of their performances. And even the marketing seemed disappointing leading up to this film (Bay himself wrote a letter to the studio complaining about the way they promoted Revenge of the Fallen leading up to its release).
So again, I ask – what is going on here? Why is a movie that currently has a 20 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes setting five-day box office records?
Look, I know that last week was a tough one. We lost four well-known celebrities in a very short time span. And not only did we unexpectedly lose the King of Pop on Friday, but ever since then upsetting details about the circumstances surrounding his death, his final days and even the true paternity of his children have all begun to emerge. Summertime TV is already bad enough, but when your only choices are reruns and never-ending Michael Jackson stories, I can understand why you might be tempted to shut off the boob tube and see a movie instead.
But by giving this movie such a huge opening weekend, you have only encouraged Hollywood to continue to churn out crap. It’s a sequel to a remake of an 80s cartoon that was created by Hasbro to sell toys and it’s directed by a guy who thinks illiterate, foul-mouthed minstrel-bots who speak in ebonics are simply good ol’ fashion family fun.
So please, stop paying money to see this train wreck. I know that it is mindless escapist fluff in a dark time where we are losing all of our beloved celebrities one by one. And I know that it’s coming out in a summer that is severely lacking in the blockbuster department. But you deserve better than this, America.
And you are never going to get it if you keep shelling out your hard earned money for crap like this.
Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.