Paramount Pictures and Hasbro are revving their engines for an expansion of their Transformers cinematic universe -- Michael Bay contends 14 stories are already in the works -- but opening-weekend expectations for The Last Knight have some wondering whether the franchise has sugar in its gas tank.
The fifth film in the blockbuster franchise earned $15 million Wednesday, putting it on a course to earn between $62 million and $65 million in its five-day domestic opening -- 10 percent lower than the $70 million projected by Paramount. That's a steep decline from the three-day domestic opening of $100 million earned by 2014's Transformers: Age of Extinction, which raked in a whopping $41.9 million in its first day.
That certainly doesn't bode well for The Last Knight, which cost an estimated $217 million to produce, and will likely spark lots of hand-wringing -- if not within Paramount, then among industry observers -- about the long-term viability of the $3.77 billion franchise. That said, the film will likely perform better overseas. What's more, the next chapter in the franchise is the 2018 spinoff starring the fan-favorite Autobot Bumblebee, which is being produced on a significantly smaller budget.
Bay's final Transformers film as director, The Last Knight has a 16 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
In theaters now, Transformers: The Last Knight stars franchise veterans Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson and John Turturro, joined by newcomers Isabela Moner, Liam Garrigan, Jerrod Carmichael, Mitch Pileggi, Laura Haddock, Santago Cabrera and Anthony Hopkins.