Why ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ Might Be a Financial Disappointment

Viacom's (NASDAQ: VIAB  ) Paramount Pictures may be making a huge mistake with Transformers: Age of Extinction, Fool contributor Tim Beyers says in the following video.

In a recent interview with the good folks at Nerdist, actor Titus Welliver, who stars in the film, said that Transformers: Age of Extinction offers a "darker version of the Transformers world." He also said it's "not a kids movie." Seriously?

Believe it or not, yes. Age of Extinction isn't yet rated despite entering post-production, which at least suggests that, in its current cut, the film is violent enough to be within spitting distance of an "R" rating. Tim says that would be a huge mistake.

Not only would it hurt at the box office -- R-rated films don't draw as widely as PG-13 movies, in most cases -- but excluding young kids could also damage a tremendously valuable merchandising brand. In 2011, Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS  ) inked deals with 325 partners to deliver product into retail stores in time for Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Similar efforts are presumably under way for Age of Extinction, which features an old favorite called the Dinobots. Yet Tim says it's unlikely that 17-year-olds will be as excited about Transformers toys and shirts as the wide-eyed youngsters who handed over allowance money for merchandise tied to the earlier films.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. What do you hope to see in Transformers: Age of Extinction? Please watch the video to get Tim's full take and then leave a comment to let us know where you stand, and whether you would buy, sell, or short Viacom stock at current prices.

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Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 1:58 PM, JustMeNTN wrote:

    Wow Tim, you actually believe the previous Transformers movies were for kids!

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 10:51 PM, thorlo6 wrote:

    Tim if what you are saying is true, and this is a R rated film/barely pass a PG-13 film, then I agree, it will be a major flop. You mentioned how old you are and still a comic fan, don't worry kid, I'm one myself and I'm 62. I have seen most of the super hero films, would see more, but being disabled and on S/S disability makes the old budget very tight. But, back to the Transformer film, if this is a darker more violent film, than the previous films with Shia, it will kill the franchise. We can only wait and see. I pray you are wrong!

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 10:58 PM, masterimmortal wrote:

    There is no way they will put out an R rated Transformers. And even if it is darker than the previous ones, kids will still eat it up in toy form. Mattel still put out tons of Batman merchandise despite the dark and gritty Nolan films.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2014, at 11:10 PM, hectoruno wrote:

    The R rating did not hurt Blade toy sales

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 10:11 AM, Skeeze wrote:

    I actually agree with Tim. Nobody but a bunch of kids is going to watch a robot riding a dinosaur.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 12:21 PM, cruizerdave wrote:

    Well the first three were full of crude sexual humor, homophobia and racism played for laughs. They were not kids movies. However, they were actually all stupider than the majority of episodes from original 80s cartoon. So they weren't adult movies either.

    Basically, these movies are for morons who are unphased by aggressive stupidity.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 1:54 PM, carpj2 wrote:

    My daughter is 22, and an admitted Transformers geek. An R rating is not necessarily a bad thing, especially since the kids who grew up with the original movie are now adults. However, financially speaking PG-13 will be better for investors because parents with kids younger then the original viewers won't be as quick to pay for an R rated Transformers movie, even if the rating is only based on violence.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2014, at 2:49 PM, drober14 wrote:

    Well, they did use the F-word in the second and third Transformers live-action movies. They could've given them an R-rating for those. Of course, if they were also aimed at kids, they should have deleted those F-words to actually make them PG-13 rated films instead of making them R-rated movies in disguise (pardon the pun). That's just my opinion.

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Tim Beyers

Tim Beyers first began writing for the Fool in 2003. Today, he's an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova. At, he covers disruptive ideas in technology and entertainment, though you'll most often find him writing and talking about the business of comics. Find him online at or send email to For more insights, follow Tim on Google+ and Twitter.

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