This week’s Forbes magazine charts the creative and economic success of Director Michael Bay ’86. The article chronicles Bay’s impressive directorial history, from his Bad Boys debut to the mechanics behind the Transformer series.
“We had no support from the studio [on Bad Boys],” says Bay in his airy Santa Monica office. “I wanted to make it exciting enough that it would make its money back.” In one of the last scenes, Smith was supposed to punch out the bad guy. But the day of the shoot was rained out, and there wasn’t enough money to bring back the crew. So Bay put up $25,000 of his $125,000 fee to shoot the scene. The movie, made for $20 million or so, went on to bring in $140 million at the box office globally.
“I didn’t get points on that,” says Bay, referring to the chunk of the profits big players get from a movie. “I had to beg to even get my [$25,000] back.” The experience made Bay smarter about negotiating deals. He took fees on his next two films, The Rock and Armageddon, but by 2000 he decided he wanted to be more than a director for hire and insisted on part ownership. […]
Then there’s Digital Domain, a visual-effects house started by James Cameron (director, Titanic) that Bay bought in 2007 with his business partner, John Textor. The company had fallen on hard times because of executive infighting, so they were able to pick it up for $35 million. Textor hired several effects wizards from George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic with the idea of producing superrealistic videogames. Digital Domain broke new ground last year with the Oscar-winning special effects in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Here’s a taste of Bay’s Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen out June 24th. Show some loyalty, Wesleyan, and make this another one of Bay’s box office successes.