Michael Bay Continues To Push The Envelope Of Success

0622forbes_p090This 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.

39 thoughts on “Michael Bay Continues To Push The Envelope Of Success

  1. Pingback: push the envelope meaning | idioMeanings.com

  2. Anonymous

    they may not be good to you pretentious motherfuckers but his movies are entertaining as fuck

  3. Anonymous

    they may not be good to you pretentious motherfuckers but his movies are entertaining as fuck

  4. Max Rodriguez

    Dear Wesleyan,
    What qualifies as art is not based on whether or not you like it. Michael Bay’s films are the physical manifestation of his ideas, concepts, etc, hence, they are art. By that logic, at least half, if not more, of the garbage that gets produced by campus isn’t art. It’s product, not result or viewer response that establishes something as art.

    Moreover, Michael Bay is incredibly good at what he does…with the exception of Pearl Harbor.

  5. Max Rodriguez

    Dear Wesleyan,
    What qualifies as art is not based on whether or not you like it. Michael Bay’s films are the physical manifestation of his ideas, concepts, etc, hence, they are art. By that logic, at least half, if not more, of the garbage that gets produced by campus isn’t art. It’s product, not result or viewer response that establishes something as art.

    Moreover, Michael Bay is incredibly good at what he does…with the exception of Pearl Harbor.

  6. johnwesley

    my apologies, then. I was conflating your remarks with #8. All you Anons sound alike.

  7. johnwesley

    my apologies, then. I was conflating your remarks with #8. All you Anons sound alike.

  8. Anonymous

    “so, we’re agreed. a film CAN be fun, visually stunning, make a ton of money, be fairly meaningless entertainment and still be art. All we’re arguing about is the screenplay.”

    Sure, I guess. I really wouldn’t call Bay’s film’s visually stunning or fun. Just mindless CGI excess. I’m not interested in arguing whether or not Transformers qualifies as ‘art’; either way, I found it atrocious, and an embarassment to Wesleyan’s name.

    –#10

  9. Anonymous

    “so, we’re agreed. a film CAN be fun, visually stunning, make a ton of money, be fairly meaningless entertainment and still be art. All we’re arguing about is the screenplay.”

    Sure, I guess. I really wouldn’t call Bay’s film’s visually stunning or fun. Just mindless CGI excess. I’m not interested in arguing whether or not Transformers qualifies as ‘art’; either way, I found it atrocious, and an embarassment to Wesleyan’s name.

    –#10

  10. Anonymous

    the film dept would never disown him… he’s given them $100,000’s and helped fund the goldsmith family cinema. he may not make what snobby Wes students call “art” but there is no denying his movies are damn successful.

  11. Anonymous

    the film dept would never disown him… he’s given them $100,000’s and helped fund the goldsmith family cinema. he may not make what snobby Wes students call “art” but there is no denying his movies are damn successful.

  12. johnwesley

    so, we’re agreed. a film CAN be fun, visually stunning, make a ton of money, be fairly meaningless entertainment and still be art. All we’re arguing about is the screenplay.

  13. johnwesley

    so, we’re agreed. a film CAN be fun, visually stunning, make a ton of money, be fairly meaningless entertainment and still be art. All we’re arguing about is the screenplay.

  14. Anonymous

    I hate Michael Bay as much as the next guy, but I thought #3’s comment was interesting and should be clarified: She/he is saying that a movie doesn’t need to have substance to entertain. Who says a movie should be judged by its substance and not its ability to entertain? It just has different strongpoints than other movies, and while those strongpoints (explosions and the like) are not likely to sell Wesleyan students, they aren’t necessarily less “worthy” or legitimate in and of themselves.

    Seriously he is a schmuck, though.

  15. Anonymous

    I hate Michael Bay as much as the next guy, but I thought #3’s comment was interesting and should be clarified: She/he is saying that a movie doesn’t need to have substance to entertain. Who says a movie should be judged by its substance and not its ability to entertain? It just has different strongpoints than other movies, and while those strongpoints (explosions and the like) are not likely to sell Wesleyan students, they aren’t necessarily less “worthy” or legitimate in and of themselves.

    Seriously he is a schmuck, though.

  16. Anonymous

    Of course Toy Story is art! Stunning, groundbreaking animation, wonderful screenplay, total vision. One of the finest animated films of the past twenty years (surpassed, in my opinion, by Ratatouille), and it set a standard by which every Pixar film since has been judged.

    Michael Bay’s films are all style, no substance — and the style has been bloated and tired for at least a decade. It’s time the Film department disowns him; he’s not a source of pride.

  17. Anonymous

    Of course Toy Story is art! Stunning, groundbreaking animation, wonderful screenplay, total vision. One of the finest animated films of the past twenty years (surpassed, in my opinion, by Ratatouille), and it set a standard by which every Pixar film since has been judged.

    Michael Bay’s films are all style, no substance — and the style has been bloated and tired for at least a decade. It’s time the Film department disowns him; he’s not a source of pride.

  18. Anonymous

    michael bay is a shmuck. his work is fun, but it is nothing even close to genius. i love Transformers and The Rock as much as the next person, but it’s pure, meaningless entertainment, not art. his standards of success have more to do with what destroyed wall street than anything I could ever respect.

  19. Anonymous

    michael bay is a shmuck. his work is fun, but it is nothing even close to genius. i love Transformers and The Rock as much as the next person, but it’s pure, meaningless entertainment, not art. his standards of success have more to do with what destroyed wall street than anything I could ever respect.

  20. johnwesley

    adam, did you not read the article? special effects+oscar=pushing the envelope.

  21. johnwesley

    adam, did you not read the article? special effects+oscar=pushing the envelope.

  22. Anonymous

    his movies have done extremely well at the box office. that means people want to see his movies. if that isn’t movie success, I dont know what is. in this industry, a lot of success is determined by the $ numbers. and Bay has those numbers.

  23. Anonymous

    his movies have done extremely well at the box office. that means people want to see his movies. if that isn’t movie success, I dont know what is. in this industry, a lot of success is determined by the $ numbers. and Bay has those numbers.

  24. Adam Fishman

    What exactly does it mean to “push the envelope of success”? “Pushing the envelope” refers to innovation, to behaviour that tests and extends the limits of acceptable or possible conduct in a certain field. Not only is it incoherent to say Bay is “pushing the envelope” of success, it isn’t even accurate in the sense you presumably meant. That is, this phrase implies that Bay is extending the boundaries of possible (financial) success in moviemaking. But there are people in movies richer and more influential than Bay. And there are people in the world far more successful (financially and otherwise) than Bay. Did you think through that metaphor at all?

  25. Adam Fishman

    What exactly does it mean to “push the envelope of success”? “Pushing the envelope” refers to innovation, to behaviour that tests and extends the limits of acceptable or possible conduct in a certain field. Not only is it incoherent to say Bay is “pushing the envelope” of success, it isn’t even accurate in the sense you presumably meant. That is, this phrase implies that Bay is extending the boundaries of possible (financial) success in moviemaking. But there are people in movies richer and more influential than Bay. And there are people in the world far more successful (financially and otherwise) than Bay. Did you think through that metaphor at all?

  26. Anonymous

    yeah you can.
    his movies have no substance, and arent even good by popcorn movie standards.
    many directors could do the same given a similar budget.
    Bad Boys is the only really great popcorn movie hes made.
    I would hardly call him a genius.

  27. Anonymous

    yeah you can.
    his movies have no substance, and arent even good by popcorn movie standards.
    many directors could do the same given a similar budget.
    Bad Boys is the only really great popcorn movie hes made.
    I would hardly call him a genius.

  28. Anonymous

    Justin: you bring up a good point. not every movie has to have character development. I hate when movie critics blast movies like this. Some movies are just meant to entertain, and I’m sure this one will do so admirably. +1 for the popcorn movie. michael bay is a genius, I dont care how much you hate him (he’s annoying, but you cant argue with his success)

  29. Anonymous

    Justin: you bring up a good point. not every movie has to have character development. I hate when movie critics blast movies like this. Some movies are just meant to entertain, and I’m sure this one will do so admirably. +1 for the popcorn movie. michael bay is a genius, I dont care how much you hate him (he’s annoying, but you cant argue with his success)

  30. Justin

    lol. I predict that Transformers 3 will be nothing but explosion after explosion. No plot, no actors, no conceivable purpose. Just fireballs and fiery doom.

    Audiences will be blinded.

  31. Justin

    lol. I predict that Transformers 3 will be nothing but explosion after explosion. No plot, no actors, no conceivable purpose. Just fireballs and fiery doom.

    Audiences will be blinded.

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