Earlier today we reported that Michael Bay were in negotiations to direct a fourth Transformers movie for Paramount and Hasbro with Steven Spielberg once again producing. Variety is now reporting that Hasbro is so interested in keeping the toy franchise rolling, that they are planning on shooting the fourth and fifth installments of Transformers back-to-back.
The licensing costs are so high for this property that the studio is considering lensing the fourth and fifth films without pause. At this time there is nothing set in stone, but writer Ehren Kruger reportedly has an idea for the next two films that the studio is really excited about persuing, and they've begun looking at writers to take on the projects. Variety confirms that Shia LaBeouf will not be reprising his role as Sam Whitwiki. There's also the awesome possibility that Jason Statham could be cast in the lead role of the next films, as of right now no offer has been officially made.
Bay still has an interest in directing the film and if a deal is made he will also serve an executive producer with Spielberg. As you know Bay wanted to move on and away from Transformers at one point so he could develop his film Pain and Gain, based on competitive body-building. There is a chance that Bay could end up making this film before Transformers, which he could go into production in late 2012 or early 2013. This would be the first time that the studio has shot two sequels back-to-back, but with the cast in crew under contract for both films it could save the studio a ton of money.
The back-to-back strategy also allows Hasbro to create a collection of new action figures and playsets for the collectors and fans. Toys are big money, especially with a franchise like Transformers. The first Transformers film released in 2007 brought in $482 million in toy merch, and the sequel brought in more than $600 million dollars.
If the films were to be made, this makes complete sense from a financial standpoint. What are your thoughts on this news? Would you want to see Statham join in on the Transformers franchise?