Interview with Lorenzo di Bonaventura on Spectacle, International Markets, and Bumblebee

Deadline interviewed producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura in a long conversation that seeks to position Transformers in the film industry and Bumblebee in the Transformers franchise. While it’s easy to see the movie as a shift from the existing franchise strategy, di Bonaventura still promises a “tough” “spectacle” of a film. 
Deadline’s article is a fascinating read and we won’t reproduce the full contents here. But a few highlights stand out.
First, di Bonaventura discusses a general shift of film toward spectacle, the one thing that movie theaters are still uniquely position to provide compared to a home theater, and the move away from R-rated films, which he says leaves a gap as that experience moves to other media. The Transformers films thus far have played to both big-picture spectacle and visceral (if fantastic) violence, which seems to hit right where di Bonaventura is aiming.

Movies like Transformers or (the upcoming) The Meg provide spectacle and there’s a certain toughness to them. I’ve been reflecting on that for the movie business to be really relevant.

While Deadline confirms that Bumblebee will only feature four Transformers, noting that it does seek to correct some of the problems that led to The Last Knight’s weak reception, and di Bonaventura has previously stated that the movie marks a deliberate shift in tone and a more complex character story, Deadline says the film isn’t throwing out the “spirit” of the Michael Bay movies.
Separately, di Bonaventura also discusses the Transformers franchise’s ability to span Western and Chinese audiences, pointing to the fact that the original Transformers cartoon is a part of Chinese audiences’ childhoods as well. While Deadline offers some context by explaining the growth of the Chinese box-office take in the franchise from 5% to 38% over successive films and di Bonaventura explains the need to appease censorship authorities, he emphasizes the value in finding universal stories to tell: “The truer you are to your story, the better the movie is.”
Do you think the Bumblebee movie is the right direction for the franchise, and are you looking forward to the film? Join our discussion on the Allspark forums here.