'Transformers' Spinoff ‘Bumblebee’ to Star John Cena, Open Against ‘Aquaman’ in Dec. 2018

Bumblebee, the first Transformers spinoff film, will be Paramount’s 2018 Christmas gift to moviegoers.

The film will open on Dec. 21, 2018, putting it up against some heavy competition in the form of DC Comics’ Aquaman. There’s also an untitled film from Fox and James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment slated to open on that date. It’s a busy time of year, with an animated Spider-Man movie debuting the previous week and Mary Poppins Returns sailing into theaters five days after Bumblebee premieres. Paramount originally planned to open Bumblebee on June 8, 2018.

Bumblebee comes as the Transformers franchise is losing steam. The most recent installment, Transformers: The Last Knight, has made $568.9 million globally on a $217 million budget. That’s the worst result ever for a film in the series. Paramount could use a hit — the studio has suffered a string of film flops, including Ghost in the Shell and Baywatch.

The film unfolds in a California beach town circa 1987, a time of loud hair and acid wash jeans. That’s where Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), discovers Bumblebee, a lovable VW bug, languishing in a junkyard.

Paramount announced that filming will take place entirely in California. Shooting commenced on Monday, with John Cena, the wrestler turned movie star, leading the cast. The rest of the Bumblebee cast includes Steinfeld, Pamela Adlon, Stephen Schneider, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Jason Drucker, Kenneth Choi, and Abby Quinn. Travis Knight (Kobo and the Two Strings) directs the picture, Christina Hodson (Unforgettable) wrote the script.

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