Transformers spinoff ‘Bumblebee: The Movie’ to challenge ‘Aquaman’ at box office

by Digital Trends

Cameras started rolling over the summer on Bumblebee: The Movie, a spinoff of the blockbuster Transformers franchise, and the first footage has now officially debuted. At CinemaCon in Las Vegas on April 25, stars Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, and Jorge Lendeborg Jr. helped reveal it, along with director Travis Knight.

The first look was a “quiet, emotive clip,” according to The Hollywood Reporter, and it reportedly showed Steinfeld’s character Charlie watching as her VW transforms into Bumblebee. Bumblebee had taken the vehicle form when the now-iconic robots in disguise were first introduced back in 1984. The transformation in the clip left both him and Charlie frightened before they started to form a bond. Steinfeld highlighted the emotional aspect, telling the audience that “the relationship with Bee had heart.”

After debuting the first look, Steinfeld tweeted a photo from CinemaCon and shared “the perfect shot” of her with one of the movie’s posters.

In August, Paramount Pictures and Hasbro confirmed that filming had begun and offered up the first indication of the movie’s storyline, which will serve as a prequel of sorts to Michael Bay’s Transformers movies.

“On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town,” reads the film’s official synopsis. “Charlie (Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug.”


The studios also revealed the first, full cast listing for the film at the time, and it contained a few surprises. Previously announced Academy Award nominee Steinfeld leads a group that also includes professional wrestler and actor Cena (Trainwreck) in a featured role. Primetime Emmy Award winner Pamela Adlon (Louie, Better Things) is part of the cast as well, along with Stephen Schneider (Broad City), Jason Drucker (Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul), Kenneth Choi (Spider-Man: Homecoming), Ricardo Hoyos (Degrassi: Next Class), Abby Quinn (Landline), Grace Dzienny (Zoo), Jorge Lendeborg Jr. (Spider-Man: Homecoming), and Rachel Crow (Deidra & Laney Rob a Train).

Former Laika Entertainment animator and Kubo and the Two Strings helmer Knight directs Bumblebee from a script penned by Christina Hodson (Unforgettable). Bumblebee filmed in Los Angeles and San Francisco. 

The studios confirmed in August that Bumblebee: The Movie will hit theaters December 21, 2018, a full six months later than its original premiere date. That puts the film up against Warner Bros. Pictures’ Aquaman movie starring Jason Momoa as the aquatic superhero. The film will likely face some intense competition at the box office, and not just from Aquaman. The holiday season tends to be a popular premiere period for big-budget blockbusters, but Bumblebee will also see competition for younger audiences from Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, which opens just four days later.