‘Transformers’: The Anatomy of a Cross-Platform Money Maker

Transformers: Age of Extinction” barrels into multiplexes June 27, hell-bent on global domination. With a pricetag north of $210 million after rebates, it’s one of the summer’s most expensive titles. But the action franchise is a cash cow for Paramount Pictures and Hasbro, with its armies of Decepticons and Autobots selling billions of dollars’ worth of movie tickets, DVDs, toys and videogames. The franchise’s worldwide success also demonstrates the increasingly global nature of the movie business. For “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” the most recent installment, China contributed a whopping $168.2 million to the bottom line. Philippe Dauman, head of Paramount parent Viacom, has already predicted part four will smash box office records. The new film keeps Michael Bay behind the camera, but trades up in star power, replacing Shia LaBeouf with Mark Wahlberg, with the hopes of kick-starting a new trilogy. Here’s a breakdown of all the ways money is being minted off of Optimus Prime and pals.

$7b
Merchandising
From upcoming videogame “Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark” to Angry Birds-themed Transformers apps, the alien robots have become a merchandising juggernaut. New for No. 4: Dinobots and shape-shifting cars and trucks (rolling out in May).

$740m
Home entertainment
The trilogy has sold 55 million units, placing it among the top-10 selling franchises. Each film surpassed 1 million units on Blu-ray. Par declined to offer a revenue figure, but research analyst Tom Adams sets the bar at a total of nearly $750 million.

50k
Riders Per Day
Theme parks
“Transformers: The Ride,” a 3D attraction, has landed in three Universal Studios resorts, drawing crowds in Orlando, Hollywood and Singapore.

$2.6b
Movies
The giant machines have powered one of Paramount’s most successful franchises, becoming a summer season staple. The series’ new face: Mark Wahlberg, who plays a heroic automobile mechanic.

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