These photos appeared on the UK Telegraph newspaper and where taken by Spencer Murphy.
You can check out his web site at <a href=”http://www.spencermurphy.co.uk” rel=”self”>http://www.spencermurphy.co.uk</a>
These are posted with permission. Please do not repost.
By John J. Kruzel/American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 29, 2007 – Under the cover of darkness in the nation’s capital last night, servicemembers from all branches deployed into theater — the movie theater.
About 600 military personnel and family members attended a sneak preview of “Transformers,” the summer science fiction action-adventure film set for national release July 3.
Audience members cheered as virtuous Autobot transformers fought in concert with their U.S. military allies against the depraved Decepticons, while the clash between good and evil played out in stunning images and bone-rattling sound.
“That was without a doubt the best movie I have ever seen,” Army Staff Sgt. Mario Youngblood, dressed in his combat uniform, said as he emerged wide-eyed from the theater. The soldier, who grew up watching the early animated version, said the film did justice to the “Generation 1” Transformers of his youth.
“Transformers” features servicemembers from various branches fighting side-by-side in the thick of the action, depicting joint military operations.
“Obviously, the military has never fought giant robots, and hopefully we never will. But the way this film is structured, if we ever had to do it, this is probably how we would do it,” said Army Lt. Col Paul Sinor, a public affairs officer with that service’s Office of the Chief of Public Affairs.
During one battle scene, members of a joint special operations force are attacked by a Decepticon in the desert of a Middle Eastern country. Using a common cellular phone, the Army commander on the ground dials the Pentagon and tosses the phone to his Air Force combat controller, who directs an Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft to their position. Operators on the AWACS then call in AC-130 Spectres and A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft for air support.
“Go, Air Force!” an audience member yelled when an AC-130 began firing on enemies with its side-mounted artillery guns. “Yeah, Navy!” belts out a sailor upon seeing a team of destroyers cutting across the shining sea.
This battle scene illustrates “netcentric warfare,” the modern military strategy aimed at connecting command centers to airborne control systems to warfighters around the globe.
Liaison officers like Sinor worked with director Michael Bay to ensure the U.S. military’s portrayal — its core values in addition to its tactics, dialogue and uniforms — looks and feels authentic. As a testament to the military’s fondness for technical titles, servicemembers refer to the transformer robots as Non-Biological Extraterrestrials, or NBEs.
“Try to keep up with the acronyms,” one of the film’s characters says during an intelligence briefing.
The resolute secretary of defense, played by Jon Voight, gives a nonverbal plug during the film to America Supports You, a Defense Department program that connects military members to a civilian support network. The lapel of the Defense Secretary’s suit jacket is affixed with a pin bearing the ASY logo.
“(Bay) did the Hollywood part of the film, we did the military part, and it was a very cohesive, very easy way of doing things,” said Sinor, who has worked with Bay previously on films that include “The Rock” and “Armageddon.”
Defense Department officials allowed Paramount Pictures to film at Air Force bases in New Mexico and California, and to rent military equipment such as the CV-22 Osprey and F-22 Raptor, which made their big-screen debuts in “Transformers.” F-22s run about $25,000 per hour, according to the rental scale established by the department.
“You can’t go to Tanks R’ Us and rent a tank or a destroyer,” Sinor said. “If you need that in the movie, you have to come to the military.”
The film promoters, who last night treated guests to free popcorn and soda, stood outside the theater doors after the film, asking for audience members’ reactions in an exit poll fashion. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and one servicemember remarked about the Hollywood’s portrayal of the military, “This is the first time they got it right.”
“The special effects are definitely going to draw the younger crowd, and then they’ll be able to see just how the Air Force operates,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Mike Gasparetto after the film.
Gasparetto, a career field manager for Air Force Recruiting Service, said moviegoers will get a chance to see some of his service’s more exciting missions.
“I think it will be a great branding tool for the Air Force, to let the folks know that the Air Force does more than just move people around in aircraft,” he said. Hundreds of airmen appear in the film as extras, and nearly a dozen others have speaking roles.
“The military cooperating with the entertainment industry puts a more personal side on what the military does,” he said. “We’re not just about protecting the nation, although that is our primary job. This film shows that we have a human side to us while we are there to protect and help wherever needed.”
I am really excited about this partnership with Mtime and the exposure of my work and thoughts to Chinese movie fans, for whom I have great respect, as I celebrate the release of “Transformers” with them.
If you read Mandarin–or not–check out the site at http://michaelbay.mtime.com/
What a friggin circus in that Phil Spector murder trial. Some whack job witness who say’s she is a friend of the poor murdered girl Lana Clarkson say’s she ended it (meaning suicide) because I did not recognize Lana at a party. Can you believe this dumb story? First of all Phil Spector looks like a creepy murderer. No girl would sit in a foyer of a house with a purse on her shoulder, and borrow some guys gun, and say I’m gonna end it here, oh and I’m gonna blow my teeth out and wreck my face while I’m doing it. According to national suicide experts, people – especially women, never hurt their face in the process of suicide.
So this is the Spector creep’s only alibi – she committed suicide – come on.
I knew Lana. She worked with me on two commercials. I liked her energy – she had a great personality. I would never forget her face. It would be a big event in someone’s life If you saw a woman you knew at a party on Saturday night and she was dead two days later, don’t you think? I never saw Lana at this party. This Punkin, witness lady is a liar! According to reports, Punkin has a book deal about being Lana’s friend. She wants to make money off of her so called ‘friend’. What a disgusting piece of shit that Pumkin lady is!!!
‘Transformers’ morphs into money machine
Sci-fi saga makes $67.6 million debut
July 9, 2007
The shape-shifting robots of “Transformers” have taken on a new form: Huge piles of cash.
The sci-fi saga “Transformers,” DreamWorks and Paramount’s big-screen take on the Hasbro toys, debuted with $67.6 million in ticket sales in its first weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. That gave it $152.5 million since opening with preview screenings Monday night.
If the weekend figures hold when final numbers are released Monday, that would give “Transformers” the biggest first week revenues ever for a non-sequel, surpassing the $151.6 million of 2002’s “Spider-Man.” But factoring in today’s higher ticket prices, “Spider-Man” drew more people in its first week, about 26.1 million, compared to 22.5 million for “Transformers.”
“Transformers,” was directed by Michael Bay and features a cast led by Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox, who are among the humans hurled into the action when two races of warring robots bring their feud to Earth.
The movie’s striking visual effects and the Transformers brand — which debuted in the 1980s with toys, a TV show and an animated movie — proved irresistible for audiences, said Rob Moore, Paramount’s head of worldwide marketing and distribution.
“Michael Bay created something visually that people hadn’t seen before,” Moore said. “When you look at a jet plane flying under a bridge then flipping and turning into a robot, those kinds of images people found incredibly unique and compelling.”
“Transformers” also took in $93.6 million in 23 other countries where it has opened since June 28.
- Biggest first-week gross ever for a non-sequel (beating Spider-Man’s $151.6 mil)
- A global box office total of $246.1 mil, when you add in the $93.6 mil Transformers earned in 23 other countries
- Biggest Tuesday gross ever ($27.9 mil), as well as the third-best Wednesday ($29.1 mil) and fifth-best Thursday ($19.2 mil)
- A super-solid $16,854 per-theater average in 4,011 venues
- A resounding CinemaScore rave of A from an audience that was two-thirds male but evenly split between young folk and old
- A 93% positive rating at the exit polls
‘Transformers’ dominates box office
Robust robots squash ‘Spider-Man’ record
By PAMELA MCCLINTOCK
With moviegoers transforming the July 4th holiday box office into non-stop fireworks, DreamWorks and Paramount’s “Transformers” scored the highest seven-day performance for a non-sequel in history, clobbering previous record-holder “Spider-Man.”
Pic closed out its 6 1/2 day opening at an estimated $152.5 million from 4,011 screens, including an estimated weekend take of $67.6 million. “Spider-Man” made $151.6 million during its first seven days.
“Transformers” and other films benefited from an unusually hectic July 4th holiday week at theaters, bookended by two lucrative weekends.
In a recent online survey on Fandango, several thousand moviegoers responded with the top reasons they are seeing Transformers. The results are as follows:
— 75% were fans of the Transformers cartoons when they were kids;
— 65% had played with the Transformers toys;
— 24% had read the comic books;
— 16% are fans of director Michael Bay.
The DreamWorks Pictures/Paramount Pictures co-production TRANSFORMERS pulled in an unheard of 4.3% increase from Tuesday 7/3 to Wednesday 7/4.
In 4,011 theatres, we are estimating $29,100,000 for Wednesday 7/4/07.
We also have a revised final number for Tuesday 7/3/07 of $27,900,000. Our cumulative estimated box office to date is $65,700,00.
This is the biggest July 4th gross in history, beating SPIDERMAN 2 ($21,955,000 on 7/4/04) and the biggest Wednesday non-sequel of all time (beating THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST with $26,556,000 on Wednesday 2/25/04).
This represents the biggest box office in history for a movie on a Tuesday, beating PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST at $15,731,919.
”Transformers” director Michael Bay opens up about working with Steven Spielberg, the art of the action film, and the possibility of a sequel.
By Adam B. Vary
‘I’ve thought more about robots in a year and a half than probably anybody,” sighs Michael Bay. Slouched in his chair, a gentle breeze wafting through his surprisingly zen Santa Monica, Calif., office, he’s still hung over from the previous evening’s mega-premiere of his latest summer-action extravaganza, Transformers — the movie adaptation of the 1980s cartoon TV series and Hasbro toy line about a race of alien machines who bring their war to Earth. (He may be doing more celebrating after seeing the estimated $36.3 million in box-office revenue from the movie’s first 36 hours in theatres, including $27.5 million on July 3, its first full day of release, a new record for a Tuesday opening.)
Over the course of the next hour, Bay talked to EW.com about his working relationship with exec producer Steven Spielberg, what helped him get over the notion of directing just ”a toy movie,” and how he feels about being, you know, Michael Bay.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I have to tell you, as a Transformers fan since childhood, the special effects were pretty darn cool.
MICHAEL BAY: That’s what it’s all about. I worked a long time on that. It wasn’t always easy.
I can see why — the machinery is incredibly intricate. Why did you want to go in that route and not more —
Simple? Like a cartoon? Basically it’s the equivalent of, like, the Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters. It’s got to withstand, you know, a 40-foot screen — you just need a lot of detail and a lot of things moving just to keep your eye dazzled by these complex machines. It wasn’t always peaches and cream. The robots kind of sucked in the beginning. My whole thing is lighting with [visual] effects. We all know something in our brain is telling us it’s not lit right — that’s what makes you say it looks like a cartoon. You figure out how it’s all going to reflect different pieces of light — different materials reflect differently.
What first hooked you into wanting to direct Transformers?
It was a pitch that Steven [Spielberg] gave me. The story is true: I hung up [after we talked] and went ”I’m not doing that silly movie because it sounds like a toy movie.” I thought about it. And I said okay, you know, [I’ll] just go to Hasbro [for] this thing called Transformer School. I sat in this conference room and we went through the entire lore of Transformers. I like Japanese anime movies — I just think visually they’re really cool. There were some images in the room; I kept looking at one and I’m like, you know, if I make it real and edgy, it might be something really interesting. So I was a non-Transformer fan, but that’s good because I think it makes it more accessible for people that are non-Transformer fans. I kept having this image of a kid hiding his robots from his parents. To me that’s just a great kid fantasy. You have alien robots that are your friends. That’s charming to me. [Chuckles]
My understanding is that Spielberg really was the guy that roped you into directing this film. What was the first time that you realized that he was following your career?
When I was 27, I did a whole string of commercials that were pretty famous, the type of commercial where people go to a bar [and say], ”Did you see that commercial?” That ”Got Milk?” stuff, a whole string of funny Nike ones, whatever. So I sent this reel [of my work] around Hollywood. I get this call from my agent. ”Steven wants to see you.” I go, ”Steven who?” ”Steven Spielberg wants to see you.” Okay. I drove down to his office. A true story — I said, ”You know, when I was 15, I worked at Lucasfilm and I filed your Raiders of the Lost Ark storyboards. I saw the entire movie [in storyboard form] and I honestly thought it was going to suck.” [Laughs] And he started laughing. And I said, ”When I went to the Grauman’s Chinese [Theater] with my parents and saw it, I went ‘Oh my God, I’ve got to do this.”’ [Pause] I don’t know, he’s always been nice to me.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: There are stories of him asking you how you would pull off certain shots, or certain sequences.
MICHAEL BAY: What was fun working with him, we would sit in my war room and [I’d say], ”Oh, Steven, I got this scene and I want to do it like this and shoot like that.” And he knows what I’m talking about. He goes, ”Oh, what if you do that?” But you can see when I’m showing him stuff that his gears are ticking for Indiana Jones 4. [Chuckles] You can see that he’s a competitive director.
I’m told he worked a lot with the Transformers’ screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci to bring a certain innocent tone to the film. The motto seems to have been, ”It’s about a boy and his car.”
Yeah. That was the hook to the movie. But I added a stronger military thing at the beginning to make it more, I guess, badass, to make the stakes higher. But originally the tone was very suburbia. We kind of changed that and made it edgier. I like the idea of the suburbia. I specifically shot this a little bit more suburbia, meaning, like, I would never put actors at a Burger King, but it’s what people do, you know what I mean? Or in [lead character Sam Witwicky’s suburban] house. It’s not a sexy house. But it’s identifiable, and more accessible.
Was there a particular demographic that you thought would be your target audience?
I just thought it would be from kids to, you know, to 20-something whatever. The first day on the set I’m working with all these guys in the military and I was apologizing for the movie. Forty-something guys. I was like, ”Okay guys, I know this sounds really stupid, but there’s a 40-foot-tall robot over here and it’s going to flip and land right here.” They’re like, ”Which robot? Is this Starscream?” I’m like, how do these guys know that? And I realized, oh my God, it’s a lot older than I thought.
What is your work ethic with actors? What do you want and expect out of them when you are on the set?
I want people to bring their A game. There are some directors that sit in a chair. They sit in their trailer. I am always on the set. I do 12-hour days, that’s it, and I don’t go in overtime. And I shoot very fast. When I am doing action I’m like your worst nightmare basketball coach. I am there with my kneepads on, right next to you, and I’m there because I’m trying to instill the adrenaline. When they see me intense, I see actors’ intensity starting to rise. It’s like a game you’ve got to play. Sometimes you create a bit of chaos. We call it on the set ”Bayos.” But no, honestly, it’s like a manipulation thing.
You made certain changes to the Transformers from the ’80s series to update them and make them cinematic — like giving Optimus Prime a long-nose truck cab instead of a flat-front. There was a lot of fan uproar about that. There were even rumors that you got death threats.
No. You get these funny talkbacks, like, ”Damn you, Michael Bay, you wrecked my childhood, Michael Bay. I want to hunt you down.” I mean, whatever, you know. People are passionate about their childhoods. [Laughs] But honestly, they remember the cartoons greater than what they really are if you look at them. Because they don’t stand up at all.
I watched the 1986 Transformers animated movie the night before seeing your film, and it was, um, kinda not so good.
Yeah, I saw 15 minutes of that movie and I wanted to put a gun to my head. ”I can’t see this. I have to go into my own head about what this movie [I’m making] is.” [Laughs] So yeah, you take the heat, but they weren’t seeing [the robots] in a 3-D world.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I couldn’t help noticing that all the Autobots other than Optimus Prime are GM cars.
MICHAEL BAY: Why did I do it? I did this movie for [a budget of] $150 [million]. That was a hard number. Steven, he’s tight with the budget. So it forced me to get creative. I opened it to any car company, from Ford to Porsche, anyone. I just did it to keep an open mind because I wanted to find Bumblebee. I did not want a Volkswagen [like in the original cartoon series] — it’s the Herbie Love Bug to me.
I’ve had a relationship with GM, so they took me to where they do these cool concept cars. I saw this picture of that Camaro [used in the film], and I’m like, That’s the car. It saved me $3 million on my budget, getting all those cars. I don’t think you are whoring out the movie, because I think each car kind of fits the character. Maybe not Jazz [the Autobot that’s a Pontiac Solstice in the film]. Jazz is the one thing which I was like, ehhh, I wish he was a different car, personally. It’s too little. But that’s why I did it. It saved me money.
Was there any concern that you were also serving Hasbro, making sure that you are true to the toys and original characters?
Well, I said ”Listen, if I do this, I’m going to redesign these things. You might not like everything, but I’m going to do it my way or I’m not going to do it.” Starscream [the Decepticon fighter jet] they had a big f—ing problem with, you know. When we were deciding characters it became kind of ridiculous. Ian Bryce, my producer, came to me: ”Mike, they need the molds [of the Transformers for the toys].” [I said] ”We don’t have a script yet. We’re only on page 30!” He goes, ”They need the molds in China. What kind of vehicles do you want?” Literally, we were scrambling.
There was a poem that leaked on the Internet this spring, seemingly written by someone within production, that blamed DreamWorks for giving you too much creative control over the movie. Is it weird being the director people seem to love to take shots at?
No. I’m pretty content with who I am. I feel like I’m happy in my life. They take cheap shots because people don’t really know me. They think [what I do] is not art. Like, a nice woman from the Hollywood Foreign Press, she [asks me], ”Wouldn’t you want to do more of an art movie, like something that’s hard to do?” And I said, ”Are you kidding me?” I had this big picture of Bumblebee [behind me]. That took a team of artists. It is so much harder to do, these type of [big action] movies, than a little art movie in the south of France. I mean, if you can take something that doesn’t exist and make it look like it’s got a soul, that’s art. It’s just frustrating when people just think it’s like, oh, it’s easy.
How are you sitting with the idea of directing another Transformers movie?
Let’s see how this one does. I’ve got a lot of ideas for the next one. There’s a lot of really cool, big robot stuff that I had in my head that we didn’t do. I just want to see how this works. You might not grow as much as a director [to do a sequel]. But it’s kind of like you have your baby and you don’t want someone else to take it.
So, hypothetically, if you were to take on a Transformers sequel, would it be your next film?
I don’t know if it would be ready. It just takes so long to do a script. A couple things are on the horizon, but [maybe] I’ll do my little movie that I can knock out, because we all think we’re going to have a strike.
What is it?
Pain and Gain. It’s a true story, happened in Florida. Just love the characters. It’s these guys who work at a gym, and nothing’s good enough. They’re all looking for the American Dream, and they end up kidnapping. It’s like a mixture of Fargo and Pulp Fiction, but it’s all true. And they’re knuckleheads. The whole point is no one’s happy with what they’ve got. It’s a fun character piece. No action. One car crash.
Maybe that woman from the Hollywood Foreign Press will be satisfied.
[Laughs] I don’t know! If I shot in the south of France, maybe she would!
I just spoke to Michael and he informed me that Transformers raked in $28 million yesterday, Tuesday.
Biggest amount ever for a Tuesday.
By Gregg Kilday
“Transformers,” director Michael Bay’s screen interpretation of the Hasbro toy line, rolled into theaters Monday and quickly amassed $8.8 million in North America.
Those returns came from showings that ran from 8 p.m. on in 3,050 theaters.
Although the Paramount Pictures’ release of the DreamWorks film only played evening performances, its Monday number topped that of the day’s number two film, Buena Vista’s “Ratatouille,” by more than $1 million and more than doubled the day’s grosses for 20th Century Fox’s competing action movie “Live Free or Die Hard.”
Figures for “Transformers” first full day of performances on Tuesday, when the film rolls into more than 4,000 theaters, will be released on Wednesday.