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Michael Bay: Critics don't get my movie, but audiences do

June 29, 2009 | 10:57 am

Bay

Michael Bay's "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" barely missed breaking the 5-day box-office record held by "The Dark Knight," according to final figures released Monday morning. A year ago, filmmaker Chris Nolan's Batman sequel grossed $203.8 million in its first five days. Bay's "Transformers" sequel sold $200.1 million since its pre-dawn debut just past midnight early Wednesday, Paramount said. 

The movie is clearly polarizing audiences. For all the tickets the film has sold, readers reacted passionately -- and mostly negatively -- to a Monday article about Bay and his box-office track record, saying the movie was gratuitous and poorly made.

Here's the start of the story that made them so upset:

Director Michael Bay has never been a critics' favorite, but the thrashing he received for “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” was the worst of his eight-film career. Reviewers ridiculed the new sequel about battling robots as "beyond bad" (Rolling Stone), "bewildering" and "sloppy" (the Village Voice) and "a great grinding garbage disposal of a movie" (the Detroit News).

The early notices were so uniformly disapproving that after Bay's traditional opening-night dinner party at Beverly Hills' Mr. Chow, the 44-year-old director wondered aloud to executives at distributor Paramount Pictures about the possible impact of the drubbing.

He needn't have worried: Rarely have critics been more disconnected from what audiences want and love.

Since it arrived early Wednesday just past midnight, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" sold more tickets in its first five days -- an estimated $201.2 million -- than any other movie in Hollywood history except one: last year's "The Dark Knight" (which grossed $203.8 million in its first five days and went on to earn $533.3 million at the domestic box office). By the end of this week, "Transformers" likely will surpass "Up" and "Star Trek" to become this summer's most-attended release.

"I think they reviewed the wrong movie. They just don't understand the movie and its audience. It's silly fun," Bay said over the weekend of the many "Transformers" critical detractors. "I am convinced that they are born with the anti-fun gene. The reviews are just so vicious. A lot of them are more personal than anything else."

To read the full story, click here

-- John Horn

Photo of Michael Bay by Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times.

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