My interrogation at the hands of Scott Myers continues over on Go Into The Story. Scott really hits me with the challenging questions related to my book MICHAEL F-ING BAY: The Unheralded Genius in Michael Bay's Films.
Jerry Lewis is maligned in the United States, but beloved in France. Given the ginormous success of Transformer movies in Asia, does that mean Michael Bay is the Jerry Lewis of China?
You know how every year, Tyler Perry makes a movie that opens huge? And then the next Monday, the trades fill up space with the standard article of, “Oh my god! Black people go to the movies too! Studios are now actively going to court this financial goldmine?” Then usually nothing changes. Studio films remain as un-diverse as ever until some six months later when the next Lee Daniels-directed or Oprah-produced film come out and everyone feigns shock over this “undiscovered” audience that no one realized was out there.
The genius of Tyler Perry is that he makes films for an under-served segment of the audience. A great many of these films may be critically dubious, but that doesn’t hurt him because people want to see representations of their experience on-screen. That’s why it confounds me from a business standpoint that we don’t market more to African-Americans and women, two of the most unrepresented demographics in studio filmmaking.
Bay’s a smart guy. He knew that if he set some of his last TRANSFORMERS film in China, it would do huge business there. And it did. So in conclusion, Michael Bay is not the Jerry Lewis of China, he’s the Tyler Perry of China.
Plus, I pitch the Michael Bay version of Boyhood, Scott asks me to give advice to the next generation of Transformers writers and demands I resolve the eternal question of "Michael Bay = Steven Spielberg minus what and plus what?"
All this and more in Part II.
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