Michael Bay Admits He Made Too Many Transformers Movies, Recalls When Steven Spielberg Told Him To Stop

While some may know Michael Bay best for blockbusters like Bad Boys and Armageddon, there are plenty of people who mainly associate him with the Transformers movies. Bay directed the first five installments in the robots in disguise’s film series, and while all those movies each pulled in more than $500 million worldwide, critical reception ranged from mixed to undeniably negative. In hindsight, Bay now realizes he should have followed Steven Spielberg’s advice and not made as many Transformers movies.

After delivering the Ryan Reynolds-led 6 Underground for Netflix in 2019, Michael Bay is back on the theatrical scene with Ambulance, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. It arrives five years after Bay’s last Transformers movie, The Last Knight. During an interview with Unilad, Bay acknowledged that while his Transformers movies were moneymakers, he spent too long in the director’s chair with this franchise, saying:

I made too many of them. Steven Spielberg said, ‘Just stop at three’. And I said I’d stop. The studio begged me to do a fourth, and then that made a billion too. And then I said I’m gonna stop here. And they begged me again. I should have stopped. [But] they were fun to do.

So if Michael Bay had listened to Steven Spielberg, he would have called it a proverbial day with 2011’s Dark of the Moon, Granted, it and 2009’s Revenge of the Fallen weren’t nearly as well received as the first live-action Transformers movies, but they were bigger moneymakers, so Bay could have left on a general high note. But as Bay mentioned, Paramount asked him to stick around for Age of Extinction and The Last Knight, and because he had a good time making cinematic Transformers tales, he obliged.

While Age of Extinction ended up being the first Transformers movie to cross the $1 billion mark, neither it nor The Last Knight impressed on the critical front. Furthermore, The Last Knight is the worst commercially performing entry in the main film series, with only the 2018 spinoff Bumblebee trailing behind it. Michael Bay also said that he’s “passionate” about any movie he does, so it’s not like he slacked off with the later Transformers movies. Still, it would be interesting to see where the franchise would be now if Bay had listened to Spielberg and stepped aside for someone else to take the helming reins on entry #4.

Although Michael Bay’s time directing Transformers movies is done, he was credited as a producer on Bumblebee, and the same goes for next year’s Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. So while he does still have a hand in the Transformers franchise’s creative process, he’s no longer the person leading the directorial charge. Kubo and the Two Strings’ Travis Knight succeeded Bay on Bumblebee, and Creed II’s Steven Caple Jr. was tapped to direct Rise of the Beasts, with both movies taking place long before Shia LaBeouf’s Sam Witwicky met Optimus Prime. 

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts will hit theaters on June 9, 2023, and is one of several upcoming Transformers movies on the docket. Meanwhile, you can see Michael Bay’s Ambulance on the big screen starting April 8.

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