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Hops and Box Office Flops: ‘TRANSFORMERS (1986) – Sub-“Optimus” Receipts’


Transformers: The Movie is an interesting study. It’s undeniably a flop. Finishing 14th in its opening weekend—behind About Last Night, which was in its sixth week of release—it barely cracked the top-100 for 1986.

Carrying a $6 million price tag, its cost was six times greater than the budget used to create 90 minutes of the regular cartoon series. Expectations were clearly high, which is what makes its decision to kill the bulk of the primary characters from the series so odd.

Sure, it is a bold twist; at the time, though, it jaded fans and did little to lift the movie’s sagging ticket sales. Its failure, coupled with the similar dismal response to the My Little Pony movie, forced Hasbro to balk at releasing their upcoming GI Joe feature in theaters.

But, truth be told, it is not all that bad. It’s a psychedelic, 80s hair metal-infused robot splatter fest—a rock n’ roll romp through Cybertron and its neighboring cities that pulls no punches and revels in its weirdness.

Because of that, it has endured. So much so, that in 2018, it was re-released on roughly 750 screens—nearly matching the 990 it had premiered on in 1986. That is a testament to its staying power with fans both old and new.

So sit back, grab your favorite transformative brew, prepare to engage in an all out war for the fate of Cybertron, and enjoy, as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla storm the insatiable Unicron with Dinobots in tow!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction – Channeling a smidgen of the touch and a host of the power, we break down this cult classic. (00:00)
  • Interesting Facts and Memorable Episodes from the Transformers Series – We share some lesser known trivia about the film. In addition, Chumpzilla and Capt. Cash offer their favorite episodes from the series’ run. (38:17)
  • Recommendations – Our picks for the week, accompanied by spirited debate over which cartoon classic reigns supreme—Transformers or GI Joe. (1:07:05)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) to check out all the interesting factoids—how their decision to ice “Robot Dad” altered the narrative of the GI Joe movie and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbean, and Spotify!


Thomas L. Kelly

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