Michael Bay remains one of Hollywood's most divisive filmmakers, with his work on the Transformers movies proving to be particularly controversial (especially among longtime fans of the franchise). Despite negative reviews, the movies were a huge success at the box office, and the director would ultimately stick around long enough to make four of them before Paramount chose to head in a different direction.
Doing the rounds to promote Ambulance, Bay reflected on the test screenings for his first Transformers movie, admitting that it was then he realised his target audience might not be the one he expected.
"I'm telling you, here's a little trick. When directors go pre-screen their movies, we're testing them, you see what [audiences] feel and whatnot, and I've got the sound thing there, you want to throw up," Bay recently told Screen Rant (via SFFGazette.com).
"Every director wants to throw up the first time a big audience is looking at that thing. And you'll see people walking down slowly in the test, and you want to grab them, 'No, no, no. Hang on. There's a big scene. If you miss this scene, you're going to miss the whole thing.'"
"So it's intense, like Transformers. So two houses, 400 people in each house, starting 15 minutes difference or something like that. I'm now watching it with a whole bunch of families and kids, and I'm like, 'Okay, dumb robot movie. Oh my God. It's just a kids' movie. Oh, man. Oh, what did I do?' It gets a huge score, and it was unfinished," he continued. "Then I go to the next theater, and I've got the sound thing and there's an empty seat and there's a guy, whatever. This is more of the adult kind of room, and I look to the guy and I [ask], 'Do you like this movie?' And he goes, 'Meh.'"
"And I'm like, 'Oh, this is terrible. I just made a terrible movie.' Whatever," the director concluded. "Huge matching score, like a 94. That's a spectacular movie score."
It's fascinating to get these insights from Bay, especially as he's clearly aware that what he delivered was exactly what critics and fans have been saying about this franchise since 2007. However, with audience scores that high, it's no wonder the director stayed the course, and he clearly made the right decision considering his Transformers movies would go on to gross billions of dollars.
Like it or not, they had their fans, which was evident from those all-important box office receipts.
Only time will tell whether Paramount can deliver movies that are a little more fan-pleasing in nature. Bay has since moved on from the world of Autobots and Decepticons, anyway, and many critics have called Ambulance his best movie to date (praise like that was never heaped on Transformers).
Were you a fan of what Bay did with this franchise?