Over the weekend, Paramount’s threequel Transformers: Dark of the Moon became the top grossing film in the series, with a worldwide total of $882.4 million through Sunday.
The original Transformers grossed $709.7 million globally, while sequel Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen took in $836.3 million. Dark of the Moon’s performance has no doubt been helped by being the only one of the three to be released in 3D.
Dark of the Moon’s weekend tally included $62 million in foreign grosses—fueled by a $40 million-plus opening in China, the biggest three-day launch of all time for an American film and eclipsing Avatar’s debut by 72%.
I really do hate how writers get it wrong. They write as if they were there every day, every hour, for two years of production. David Cohen’s 3D story for Variety, missed the mark. I often ask my what is the point in talking to writer’s because they just want to print their own reality of the truth.
David didn’t print the whole story from me, or my team, which makes a deceiving portrait of the truth. He got the conversion percentages wrong. And more importantly missed the true point of what the story should have been. The world was asking for a good 3D experience. How you could seamlessly blend Native to converted. Transformers 3D stands on it own, and we feel proud we delivered.
David wasn’t interested into how Transformers revolutionized the conversion process in it’s approach, and technique. He thought he would bore readers by forgetting to mention the massive complexity of the hundreds of layers, and the full year we had our two conversion companies working on some of the shots. We did think way different, and outside the box.
He could’ve made an educational article where directors and producers could’ve learned about new conversion techniques and the innovative ways to approach the process. But instead it was a lame attempt to say we fibbed to the audience.
I always thought Variety was a film trade magazine?
I read some of the blogs people sent me from other sites, a couple have totally missed the point. Yes I could of bought one for Cody. Not the point, I’m trying to get Apple and Steve Jobs to understand what an amazing device they have – and never intended. Cody’s mother told me the device for communication they insure Cody for are basically shitty and cost 10k. No internet connection. Ipad $700. Insurance will not cover them because you can connect to the internet – are you kidding me? Insurance is always so lame and behind the times.
The point is to get the message out to that these devices like iPads can help kids like Cody.
Some of you might not know who Greg Russell is, but I guarantee you’ve heard his work.
Greg has been working with Bay since ‘The Rock.’ He’s been nominated a whopping fourteen times for an Oscar. You can read a cover story of him in this month’s Editors Guild magazine.
Recently, the Motion Picture Editors Guild magazine interviewed Greg and Michael Bay.
Editors Guild Magazine: Greg, how do you set up for a mix on an effects-heavy movie like Transformers: Dark of the Moon?
Greg Russell: Having worked with the same basic crew, including supervising sound editors Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl, on two previous Transformers films, we have developed a formula for the effects food groups that would come to the stage as well as how the elements would be broken out. I worked toward a total of eight robot pre-dubs and 14 hard effects pre-dubs, plus four background and four Foley pre-dubs.
For robots, I first started with the feet, literally building the mix from the ground up. Then I moved onto bigger metal movements and the medium metal movements, right on down to the eyelash clicks. The other food groups included vocalizations––the robot language and tonalities are in the effects, not part of dialogue. The hard effects included vehicles, skids, cars, jets, trucks, helicopters, human artillery, and fire and explosions, plus some props and Foley elements, as well as touchy-feely stuff like paper downs and so on. Since I prefer to do all the panning, these mono elements comprise maybe 20 or 25 tracks for each food group.
EGM: How do you work with the sound editorial crew?
GR: The sound editors are pretty disciplined by now; they are more concise in what they bring to the stage and they don’t over-cut. If necessary, ProTools sessions can be opened and an element refined without the need to re-cut the track. In the old days of 35mm mag, editors didn’t want to commit and would over-cut, meaning that I spent my time weeding out things I didn’t need.
EGM: Michael, how important is sound to your movies?
Michael Bay: Sound is 50 percent of the movie; it is critical. Transformers: Dark of the Moon is an effects-heavy movie, stylized and beautiful. Greg Russell is a key to its success.
We consistently try and make my movies the best sounding we’ve ever done. As James Cameron told me the other day when I played him an in-progress mix: “It’s f*cking epic!” We were in the middle of mixing the wall-to-wall sound in Act 3, as we’re preparing for the Battle of Chicago with a few characters in the middle of the city. It is all too easy for the mix to become too overwhelming. I rely on Greg to keep me grounded. You can make it totally loud, but then you have nowhere to go in terms of dynamics. Less, quite often, can be more for a movie soundtrack.
EGM: What does Greg Russell bring to your productions?
MB: I’ve been working with Greg since 1996; he is fantastic at his job. I prefer to weave the sound so that audiences can hear important cues and I can focus their attention on specific elements. A director basically manipulates audiences in terms of guiding where he wants their eyes to go from shot to shot. It is exactly the same with sound; we use it as a tool to have the audience hear exactly what is important in the film. It is how you focus the audience with sound effects, which can all too often dominate the action.
EGM: Greg, what did Dolby 7.1 Surround bring to the production?
GR: This was my first 7.1-channel mix, with Gary Summers handling dialogue and Jeff Haboush the music; we had a great time! The four surround channels—left-wall, left-back, right-wall and right-back—offer a full-field quad scenario. If I have a machine gun going “rat-tat-tat” in the right-side surround, a separate “kaboom” in the right-rear adds impact and interest; 7.1 offers creative opportunities to move sounds around the room with much more defined rear-field panning.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon was a very busy mix. I was out to around 256 faders on the Harrison MC-4D at Sony’s Kim Novak Stage, with 32 open-channel sweeteners for things that changed or where we wanted a different sound. We often received new or revised visuals for which I might need to add new material. We just muted tracks in the pre-dub and added the new sweetener tracks.
EGM: Michael, what was the standout for you, sound-wise?
MB: Act 3, which focuses on an all-out attack on Chicago, is ridiculously complex. The sound weaves around the action; it is just staggering what a good mix these talented people can produce. I look for creativity in my re-recording crew—people who come up with something fresh and new for me. Ingenuity is the key; people who think outside the box and constantly have a varied approach to the movie’s soundtrack. During pre-production, I get involved with the mixers early; I’m constantly demanding the very best of people.
Source: MPEG Magazine
Michael Bay must have zombie-raising powers, because 3D is back from the dead with Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which pulled in about 60% 3D ticket sales in its opening weekend.
There’s an artistry in his filmmaking that far too few people seem to appreciate, and it’s become a cliche to make jokes about Bay’s films being just a series of explosions. But that demonstrates a gross misunderstanding for what Michael Bay can do as a filmmaker, and ignores some great films on his resume, including those noted above.