HOLLYWOOD–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The blockbuster hit from DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures, TRANSFORMERS, is the year’s top-selling week one DVD with North American sales reaching 8.3 million units since the title’s debut on October 16, it was announced today by Paramount Home Entertainment. The biggest original film of the year from director Michael Bay and executive producer Steven Spielberg, in association with Hasbro, Inc., is also the best-selling DVD day one for the year with over 4.5 million units sold on Tuesday. Additionally, the smash hit has exploded into the high definition market, selling over 100,000 HD DVDs its first day of release, rocketing past previous releases to become the best-selling day one high definition title on either format since their inceptions. TRANSFORMERS has sold over 190,000 HD DVDs in its first week making it the fastest and best-selling week one release on either high definition format as well as the best selling HD DVD ever. The TRANSFORMERS DVD is also the top-selling October DVD release in the history of the home entertainment industry.
“The performance of the TRANSFORMERS DVD and HD DVD has demonstrated the phenomenal success of this global franchise,” said Kelley Avery, president, Worldwide Home Entertainment, Paramount Pictures. “We’re happy to be kicking off the fourth quarter with a title that clearly shows home entertainment releases are still an event that drives consumers into stores—which is a win for both content providers and retailers.” Earning over $700 million at the global box office, the live-action feature film TRANSFORMERS is the latest success in a worldwide franchise that has emerged as one of the most successful properties in action figure history, spawning numerous television series and comic books and a wealth of toys, games and other licensed merchandise. In 2007, TRANSFORMERS has become one of the hottest properties for boys in a variety of categories, including toys, publishing, video games, apparel and back-to-school. Hasbro’s licensing arm, HPG, has signed more than 250 licensees in 70 countries around the world.
The first live-action film based on the enduringly popular “ROBOTS IN DISGUISE”, TRANSFORMERS features the ultimate battle between good and evil, as the peace-loving AUTOBOTS seek to protect humanity from the evil forces of the DECEPTICONS. The TRANSFORMERS Special Edition two-disc DVD and HD DVD sets provide an incredible experience with an arsenal of bonus material that delivers excitement and fun for long-time fans, as well as for viewers who are new to the TRANSFORMERS universe. Further, the HD DVD includes a host of highly advanced web-enabled features that will continue to roll-out through the rest of the year.
By Mike Snider, USA TODAY
Most directors diplomatically go to bat for DVDs of their films. Filmmaker Michael Bay (Armageddon, Bad Boys, The Rock) is just as likely to drop verbal bombs while talking about his DVDs as when he is directing.
Bay’s take on the new Transformers DVD, which has sold 8.3 million copies since its release last week: “It’s a good DVD. But not as good as it could have been,” he says. That sales total made Transformers the year’s fastest-selling DVD in North America, according to Paramount Home Entertainment.
Despite setting a record, Bay, 42, says a hectic studio schedule prevented him from being as personally involved in the DVD as he was back in the days of Pearl Harbor. His 2002 four-disc director’s cut of that film set the standard for buffed-up special editions.
“I was traveling promoting (Transformers) while they were doing the DVD,” he says. “You try to guide people as to what to do (in making it), but ultimately if you rush your date, you are not going to get the DVD as good as it could be. … Studios want to pump this stuff out, and my job is to care about it and try to put the right people on it. They just see it as a show they are selling, and I see it as a movie. That’s how your movie lives on, in the DVD format.”
An aspect of the DVD that Bay says he personally fought for was having the film be on a disc by itself, with just a commentary. He won that battle in the $20 single-disc version that hit shelves last week along with a deluxe, two-disc $40 version.
Source: USA TODAY
This is one great interview in which Michael talks about the entertainmnet industry and the LA of yesterday.
By Jay A. Fernandez, Special to The Times
Well, DreamWorks and Paramount are finally moving forward with their inevitable “Transformers” sequel, and they’ve done it by putting an enormous down payment on a unique, blockbuster screenwriting crew. In a deal that could ultimately pay out more than $8 million, the studios have hired Ehren Kruger (“The Ring,” “Scream 3″) to write the film’s screenplay with original “Transformers” scribes Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, whose four credited films have produced $1.4 billion in worldwide box office.
DreamWorks’ willingness to agree to a combined team of A-listers, especially at such lofty rates, speaks to the studio’s faith in the writers’ ability to deliver (it also, one insider notes, effectively discourages the studio from spending more money to hire someone to rewrite their work).
Producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and DreamWorks executives had been inviting writers to propose takes on the sequel as early as May, two months before the first film’s Independence Day opening. The studio has been looking at the “Transformers” property as an extended saga, with an expansive mythology built into at least two more films.
But Kurtzman and Orci have been jammed with high-profile writing and producing assignments (“Star Trek,” “Eagle Eye”) and originally passed on writing the sequel to avoid overextending themselves. With returning director Michael Bay looking to keep them involved and no killer pitches forthcoming, last month the studio finally persuaded them by suggesting they team with another writer (for the second film only; Bay has not committed to a third either.)
As producers, Kurtzman and Orci had hired Kruger to pen another DreamWorks project, “Nightlife,” and apparently enjoyed the relationship enough to collaborate with him as writers. (Kruger had recently adapted Stephen King’s “The Talisman” for Steven Spielberg, a “Transformers” executive producer.)
Even with the added partner, the logistics should prove complicated. The new “Star Trek,” which Kurtzman and Orci are producing and writing for Paramount, and “Eagle Eye,” which they’re producing for DreamWorks, start shooting on the same day next month. And “Fringe,” the sci-fi series Kurtzman and Orci sold to Fox TV last week, starts shooting by year’s end.
So Kurtzman and Orci will somehow be writing their part of the “Transformers” script while bouncing around three sets. (At least “Fringe” is co-written and co-executive-produced by “Trek” director J.J. Abrams, so lunch breaks on the “Trek” set should prove productive.)
No deadline has been set for the screenplay, though the film does have a release date: June 26, 2009. So the hiring of several writers was less about trying to complete a script before the potential Writers Guild walkout on Nov. 1 than about having access to numerous voices to address the inevitable changes as this behemoth progresses through its years-long development and production process.
Just the same, the three writers are already pooling their ideas to nail down the detailed story line while Bay has begun pulling together some digital pre-visualization robot designs that didn’t make it into the first film. An added benefit lost on no one is that with a CGI-heavy film like this, the preliminary work provides an effective cushion if the writers (or directors and actors next summer) do strike — effects crews can work ahead and compile action sequences during any stoppage.
By Borys Kit
Scribe Ehren Kruger and the writing team of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are in negotiations to team to write the screenplay for DreamWorks/Paramount’s “Transformers 2.”
Director Michael Bay, star Shia LaBeouf and producers Tom DeSanto, Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Don Murphy are back in their respective chairs, as is exec producer Steven Spielberg.
The teaming of A-listers to write such a huge project might be an industry first and could have been necessary because Kurtzman and Orci — who wrote the $315 million-grossing first “Transformers” movie — also are busy writing J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” movie for Paramount and producing “Eagle Eye” for DreamWorks.
But the teaming will not be a case of complete strangers being thrust together, as the three writers are working together on “Nightlife,” a DreamWorks serial-killer project that sees Kruger adapting a Thomas Perry novel, with Kurtzman and Orci producing along with Neal Moritz. Kruger also adapted the Stephen King tome “The Talisman,” which Spielberg is exec producing for TNT.
Sources are pegging the writing deal, which is not yet closed, in the $5 million-$7 million range, which also might be an industry high for a nonoriginal screenplay. Reflected in the price is the pressure to perform: With the studio hoping to make the movie before a potential talent strike, the writers are going to have to type fast.
Kruger met with Bay and Hasbro president Brian Goldner and impressed the duo with his knowledge of the “Transformers” mythology.
Kruger also has “Torso,” a graphic novel adaptation that has David Fincher directing, set up at Paramount. He is repped by Paradigm and Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern.
Orci and Kurtzman are repped at CAA.
By Borys Kit
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – “Transformers” director Michael Bay is reviving the “Friday the 13th” franchise through his low-budget production company.
The remake of the original 1980 horror classic, which turned the villainous Jason into a cultural icon, is being produced for New Line Cinema by Bay’s Platinum Dunes banner. Platinum Dunes was also behind the revival of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “The Hitcher.”
In the original “Friday the 13th,” the serial killer made only a brief appearance in the final frames and never killed anyone. Jason didn’t even don the famous mask until the third movie. The remake, however, will focus on Jason — who will wear the mask and kill — and keep the famous setting of Crystal Lake.
Damian Shannon and Mark Swift will write the script. They wrote 2003’s “Freddy vs. Jason,” the killer’s last big-screen appearance. That film grossed more than $82 million domestically.
Source: Reuters/Hollywood Reporter