It appears that Michael Bay could be back in the business of filming giant transforming robots blow stuff up.
After seemingly stepping down from the franchise, a report from Vulture indicates that the director is close to finalizing negotiations to return to helm a fourth Transformers film.
Grossing $1.12 billion worldwide, last summer's Transformers: Dark of the Moon proved the staying power of Optimus Prime and his anthropomorphic Autobot allies at the box office. Thus, the pressue from Paramount/Dreamworks to bring them back with Bay at the helm must have been tremendous.
What's Bay getting out of it?
Apparently this deal involves a bit of quid-pro-quo, regarding the support of a pet project called Pain and Gain; a story about a Florida businessman's quest for revenge against a gang of dimwitted bodybuilders who left him for dead after being kidnapped, robbed, and tortured. (Maybe they tied him to a chair and made him watch Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.)
It's not an uncommon situation for a big-name director to get a vanity project as part of a deal to direct a major release. (Although his salary will no doubt be ungodly.)
At this point, the deal is on the table, as Bay mulls it over. As he states on his site:
"Studio's [sic] are passing rumors but I'm not sure what I'm doing? I know I'm going to do Pain and Gain early spring but that's it for right now. I'm leaving all my options on the table. I've got several Studio meetings in the next two weeks."
The reality remains that the kind of money that's at stake is just too big not to have the franchise come back.
Likely, this prospective fourth film (should it be realized,) will be without Shia LaBeouf's Sam Witwicky, since the actor did express the finality of his role with the last film and there's no reason not to believe him. However, there is always the option to shift the focus to the secondary characters like Josh Duhamel's Lennox, or Tyese Gibson's Epps. -- Paired with an obligatory Victoria's Secret model, of course.
While Bay certainly has his legion of haters, what he brings to the box-office certainly speaks for itself. Plus, Dark of the Moon was a step in the right direction after Revenge of the Fallen fell flat artistically.