Transformers fans are going to have the chance to roll out to theaters a bit early to see Bumblebee. Paramount has announced special one-night-only screenings of the upcoming spin-off on Saturday, December 8. These screenings are open to any fans who want to attend, with tickets available to purchase now. Bumblebee will screen nearly two full weeks early, which means the studio may have a good deal of confidence in what they've cooked up.
Despite the fact that critics have largely not been on board for the Transformers franchise since the first entry, Paramount has enjoyed tremendous success at the box office over the years with the robots in disguise. However, last year's The Last Knight seemed to mark a turning point, as the movie grossed $605 million globally, which sounds good until pointing out that its predecessor, Age of Extinction, grossed $1.1 billion, a full $500 million more. While there is still money to be made, it was clear the studio needed to rethink their strategy and pivot a bit.
Enter Bumblebee. This entry in the franchise takes things back to the 80s, when the Transformers were first created. The titular character is in his traditional VW Beetle form and it looks to be a comparatively more grounded story. This also is the first entry in the series not directed by Michael Bay, which is key. Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings) is in the driver's seat for this one and it appears as though Paramount is happy with what he's delivered. They would be less likely to screen the movie so early if they felt they had a disaster on their hands. Dare we wonder; are the Transformers movies about to get good?
These early Bumblebee screenings were announced not long after it was revealed that Warner Bros. is doing something similar with Aquaman, which will screen early for fans on December 15. This is something that studios are doing increasingly with big movies in order to build buzz and add a little to their box office total. In this case, the early screenings carry a bit more weight, as both of these movies are set to open nationwide on December 21. This is going to be one of the biggest box office showdowns of the year, and both studios have a lot to lose or gain, depending on how things go.
In the case of Aquaman, the DC universe is in rough shape following Justice League and this movie needs to course correct for the brand. For Bumblebee, the future of a multi-billion franchise now rests on the shoulders of a scrappy yellow Autobot, with the help of John Cena and Hailee Steinfeld. The fact that both of these movies are opening on the same day is pretty amazing. Early buzz is going to be key when it comes to figuring out who comes out on top. Those who are interested in seeing Bumblebee early on December 8 can head on over to BumblebeeMovie.com for local showtime information and to grab tickets.