Paramount Pictures is launching a cinematic universe around its blockbuster “Transformers” property that will be overseen by Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, an individual with knowledge of the studio’s plans has told TheWrap.
A representative for Paramount had no comment on Friday afternoon.
Goldsman is in deep negotiations to develop “Transformers” sequels and spinoffs with Michael Bay, who directed all four films in the franchise and could really stand to hand the reins to someone else, as well as producer Lorenzo di Bonventura and executive producer Steven Spielberg.
The quartet will serve as a braintrust that aims to organize a “writer’s room” of sorts, though Goldsman himself is not expected to write one of the scripts.
The “Transformers” expansion signals that Paramount is serious about competing with its studio peers when it comes to broadening big franchise properties.
Disney has Marvel’s cinematic universe of superheroes while Lucasfilm is expanding the “Star Wars” universe with spinoffs directed by Gareth Edwards and Josh Trank. Fox has James Cameron‘s “Avatar” and is gearing up to restart the world of “X-Men” with a team of young mutants. Sony has announced a “Ghostbusters” universe, while Universal has its own universe of classic movie monsters. Warner Bros. is no slouch, as the studio continues to build its “Lego” universe as well as a DC Comics universe led by Zack Snyder’s “Batman v Superman” and upcoming two-part “Justice League.”
The “Transformers” franchise has been one of diminished returns in the U.S. but it is growing in popularity overseas, especially in China. It has grossed billions for Paramount, which developed the franchise based on Hasbro’s line of toys.
Bay is currently taking a break from the “Transformers” franchise to direct the Benghazi drama “13 Hours” for Paramount, featuring a cast of up-and-coming actors.
“Transformers” is the the most important franchise on the Paramount lot, trumping “Star Trek” and “Mission: Impossible,” so it’s no surprise that Paramount’s recently-promoted president Marc Evans is focusing his efforts on getting the most out of that property. He’s also expected to increase the studio’s output, as Paramount has come under fire for its thin slate, which played a part in Adam Goodman’s abrupt exit.
The news was first reported by Deadline.