Transformers 3 Secretly Re-Used Footage From Michael Bay's $162M Flop

Transformers 3 Secretly Re-Used Footage From Michael Bay's $162M Flop
Image credit: Paramount Pictures

Michael Bay's films boast great production values, but some scenes are not always the most original.


  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon became one of the most profitable flicks with a budget of 200 million dollars.
  • However, despite such a huge budget, fans learned that Michael Bay used some scenes from his previous project.
  • This is the 2005 movie that was a complete commercial failure despite a stellar cast.

Michael Bay is one of today's most recognizable filmmakers, known for his ability to deliver truly high-octane, spectacular movies with stunning production values. His films are always full of memorable action sequences, expert editing and cinematography, and coupled with big budgets, almost every movie Bay directs becomes a smash hit. This is especially true of the incredibly popular sci-fi franchise based on the Hasbro toy line, Transformers.

Although, after the release of the first film, the next four installments received increasingly negative reviews from critics, it was never about the visual effects. Moreover, Revenge of the Fallen, Dark of the Moon and Age of Extinction became some of the highest grossing films of all time, making over $1 billion globally.

These movies also featured enormous budgets, which today only Disney can boast when producing the (often ill-fated) projects for the MCU, but this did not prevent a 'controversy' surrounding the direction of Michael Bay. It was the recycling of footage from his earlier work for Transformers 3, which turned out to be an absolute box office failure.

Old Footage Used in Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Although the news of this caused a certain stir among the public, it cannot be called a full-fledged 'controversy' because the filmmaker did not plagiarize anyone else's work, but effectively used the assets of his own creation. Besides, Michael Bay may have thought at the time of making Dark of the Moon that no one would notice a scene from a failed movie released a few years earlier. But beware of eagle-eyed fans, Mr. Bay!

The movie the director used footage from is 2005's The Island, starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson. It was a sci-fi action flick in which McGregor's character, disillusioned with the dystopia he lives in where the rich clone people for organ harvesting and surrogacy, attempts to escape with a character played by Johansson. With a budget of a whopping $126 million, the film grossed a measly $162.9 million at the worldwide box office.

But back to Transformers: Dark of the Moon. It features a chase scene in which the SUV is destroyed by a decepticon falling on it. This exact scene was shown on the big screen in 2005, but the SUV was destroyed by the wreckage of another car. See below for a detailed breakdown.

This Is Not the First Time Michael Bay Has Used Elements from Previous Projects

Of course, with such huge budgets invested in each of the Transformers movies, the fact that Michael Bay used old scenes seems rather strange. However, Bay is far from being the only creator who uses his previous, more or less successful work to save not only money, but also other resources spent by the production team, including effort and time.

Besides, this is far from the first such case for the filmmaker himself. Previously, he implemented the footage from the first Transformers, released in 2007, and the source was not the failed, half-forgotten movie, but the cult blockbuster Pearl Harbor, released in 2001. Of course, it's not the most noticeable shot unless you're looking for intentional plagiarism or movie bloopers, but it's a good indicator of how the production process works with such a famous filmmaker and how he tries to use his time and resources as efficiently as possible.

The Island is available for streaming on Paramount+. Transformers: Dark of the Moon is also available for streaming on Paramount+ or Apple TV+.

Did you know that Michael Bay recycled footage from his old movies?