Paramount is expanding its “Transformers” business.
Marco Ramirez (showrunner for Netflix’s Marvel series “The Defenders”) has signed to write a script for a new, standalone “Transformers” movie based on the Hasbro toy brand, with “Charm City Kings” director Angel Manuel Soto attached to direct.
The project is still in its earliest stages, with Ramirez taking a fresh approach that will not connect to the “Transformers” movies directed by Michael Bay or the “Bumblebee” spin-off directed by Travis Knight. That series remains alive and well, however, with Steven Caple Jr. (“Creed II”) directing a movie set in the “Transformers” Bay-verse that is scheduled for June 2022.
Like practically every other studio in the streaming era, Paramount is clearly invested in growing its “Transformers” franchise to feed the relentless demand for marquee content. After back-to-back billion dollar global takes with 2011’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and 2014’s “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” however, the series has weathered diminishing returns at the global box office: 2017’s “Transformers: The Last Knight,” Bay’s final at-bat as director, earned $603 million worldwide. The next year, Knight’s “Bumblebee” earned $465.2 million globally (on a much smaller budget).
Ramirez is familiar with genre fare, starting as a writer on FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” and Netflix’s “Daredevil” before co-creating and co-showrunning “The Defenders,” which brought together Netflix’s four Marvel heroes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. He also developed CBS All Access’ “The Twilight Zone” reboot with Simon Kinberg and Jordan Peele.
Soto’s plate, meanwhile, is already getting crowded; last month, he signed up to direct “Blue Beetle” for Warner Bros.’ DC Films unit. “Charm City Kings,” an adaptation of the 2013 documentary “12 O’Clock Boys,” won a special jury prize at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival for its ensemble. Sony Pictures Classics was originally distributing the film in theaters, but the pandemic led to its acquisition by HBO Max.