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Michael Benjamin Bay (born February 17, 1965) is an American film director and producer. Bay is best known for making large-budget action films, such as Armageddon, The Rock, Pearl Harbor, Bad Boys, Bad Boys II, Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and producing remakes of horror movies such as Friday the 13th reboot, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as well as the upcoming A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Early life

Bay was born in Los Angelesmarker and raised there by his adoptive parents, Harriet, a bookstore owner/child psychiatrist, and Jim, a CPA. His cousin is Susan Bay, the wife of actor Leonard Nimoy. He attended the exclusive Crossroads School, in Santa Monica, Californiamarker, where the "Hollywood Elite," including film stars, send their children. He donated his Bar Mitzvah money to an animal shelter. Later in his adult life, he graduated from Wesleyan Universitymarker in 1987, where he was a member of the Psi Upsilon fraternity. He opted to study film at the Art Center College of Designmarker in Pasadenamarker.


Bay made his first feature film, Bad Boys, in 1995, starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. The movie became a success with a total of almost $141 million in ticket sales worldwide and generated a huge profit for producers Jerry Bruckheimer, Don Simpson and Columbia Pictures.

His follow-up film, The Rock (1996), is an action movie set on Alcatraz Islandmarker, and the San Francisco Bay areamarker. It stars Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage and Ed Harris. Again it was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson, the latter of whom died five months before the film's release. The movie won a number of minor awards, including 'Best On-Screen Duo' for Connery and Cage at the MTV Movie Awards as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound.

In 1998, he collaborated again with Jerry Bruckheimer to direct Armageddon. The film, released at a time when disaster films were seeing a comeback, was about a group of tough oil drillers who are sent by NASAmarker to deflect an asteroid away from a collision course with Earth. It starred Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton and Ben Affleck. Despite the mixed reviews and criticism, Armageddon was nominated for Academy Awards at the 71st Academy Awards in categories of Best Sound, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing, and Best Original Song, and went on to gross over $550 million worldwide.


In 2001, Bay directed Pearl Harbor. It starred Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale and Cuba Gooding, Jr. The film was released on Memorial Day weekend in 2001. Bay also produced the film along with Jerry Bruckheimer. Critical response was mixed and many critics dismissed the film as visually polished but historically inaccurate, also citing such literary flaws such as the banal dialogue, underdeveloped love triangle plot, and the shallow nature of the lead characters. At the 2002 Academy Awards, Pearl Harbor was nominated for four awards, winning one for Sound Effects Editing. Its other nominations were for Best Sound, Best Visual Effects, and Best Song.

Bay reteamed with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence for Bad Boys II, and this also marked Bay's fifth collaboration with Jerry Bruckheimer. The film was a success at the US box office. It made $138 million domestic gross, enough to cover the production budget, and $273 million worldwide, almost twice as much as the original movie.

In 2005, Bay directed The Island, a science-fiction film described as a pastiche of "escape-from-dystopia," starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson. It was the first film Michael Bay made without Jerry Bruckheimer featuring as the producer and also his first to disappoint in the US domestic box office earning only $36 million; it was more successful overseas, where it netted a respectable $163 million worldwide. Bay himself stated that he was not comfortable with the marketing of the movie in the US. Although not particularly well-received, some critics did note a gentler, more humanistic side to the film, and praised the special effects, stunts, Mauro Fiore's cinematography, and Bay's handling of the movie's intense, multiple chase scenes.

Bay filming on the set of Transformers.

In 2007, he teamed up with Steven Spielberg, as the executive producer, to direct Transformers, a live action film based on the Transformers franchise. The film was released in the U.S. and Canada on July 3, 2007, with 8 p.m. preview screenings on July 2. The previews earned $8.8 million, and in its first day of general release it grossed $27.8 million, a record for Tuesday box office attendance. It broke Spider-Man 2's record for the biggest July 4 gross, making $29 million. On its opening weekend, Transformers grossed $70.5 million, amounting to a $155.4 million opening week, giving it the record for the biggest opening week for a non-sequel. As of November 2007, the film has made over $319 million domestically and over $708 million worldwide, it was well received by audiences, and positive reviews from critics. Bay and Steven Spielberg returned as director and executive producer for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which was released on June 24, 2009 to gross over $832 million worldwide and was also received well by the audiences despite negative to mixed reviews from critics.

All these movies combined grossed in more than $1.5 billion domestically and $3.5 billion worldwide. Michael Bay's world wide box office totals make him the 6th highest grossing director.Bay and Wydncrest Holdings acquired the special effects company Digital Domain in 2006 from James Cameron and Stan Winston. He also runs his production company, Platinum Dunes, that produces horror genre films (mostly commercially successful remakes of 1970s films), and directs commercials through The Institute for the Development of Enhanced Perceptual Awareness. Platinum Dunes released an update of the classic horror picture "Friday the 13th".

Bay was parodied in the South Park episode "Imaginationland Episode I". In the episode, M. Night Shyamalan, Mel Gibson, and Bay are asked by the Pentagonmarker for ideas in rescuing the collective human imagination from terrorist who are holding it captive. Bay proves useless as an adviser, offering only spectacular special effect proposals because, as he says, he doesn't know the difference between that and genuine ideas.

Bay confirmed on 10/1/2009 that his next project will be Transformers 3 with a release date of 7/1/2011


Bay's films usually have high commercial success but have been met with nearly universal mixed to poor critical reviews. Armageddon and Pearl Harbor were nominated for worst pictures in the Golden Raspberry Awards 1998 and in 2001, Bay was also nominated for worst director. However, Bay has received four MTV Movie Awards: Best Movie, for Transformers, Best Action Scene for Pearl Harbor, Best Action Scene for Bad Boys 2, and Best Action Scene for The Rock. In 1994, Bay was honored by the Directors Guild of Americamarker with an award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials.

Michael Bay received the ShoWest 2009 Vanguard Award for excellence in filmmaking at the confab of theater owners.


As of 2009 Bay has directed eight feature films.

Year Film Credited as
Director Producer Actor Role
1986 Miami Vice
1990 Playboy Video Centerfold: Kerri Kendall
1995 Bad Boys
1996 The Rock
1998 Armageddon NASA Scientist
1999 Mystery Men Frat boy
2000 Coyote Ugly photographer
2001 Pearl Harbor
2003 Bad Boys II Bad car driver
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
2005 The Amityville Horror
The Island
2006 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
2007 The Hitcher
Transformers Flicked by Megatron
2009 The Unborn
Friday the 13th Headless rider
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Fiasco Heights
2010 A Nightmare on Elm Street
2011 Transformers 3

TV commercials

Bay was also one of the directors of the LA music video production company Propaganda Films. After Propaganda, he and producer Scott Gardenhour, also formerly at Propaganda, started The Institute for the Development of Enhanced Perceptual Awareness to produce commercials and other projects.

Bay also has directed spots for Victoria's Secret and Lexus, produced with Gardenhour and The Institute.

Most recently Bay spoofed himself in an advertisement for the Commonwealth Bank in Australia, as well as a Verizon Fios commercial, where he detonates various items within his home that he deemed "awesome" with special effects explosives.

Music videos

Year Song Band Notes
2001 "There You'll Be" Faith Hill Theme from Pearl Harbor
1997 "Falling in Love " Aerosmith
1994 "Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are" Meat Loaf
1994 "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through" Meat Loaf
1993 "I'd Do Anything for Love " Meat Loaf
1992 "You Won't See Me Cry" Wilson Phillips
1992 "Do It to Me" Lionel Richie
1992 "Love Thing" Tina Turner
1991 "I Touch Myself" Divinyls
1989 "I'll Be Holding On" Gregg Allman from the movie Black Rain
1989 "Angelia" Richard Marx


  1. Michael Bay Biography (1965-)
  3. Rolling Stone
  4. You Call This Paradise?
  5. PEOPLE INDEX - Box Office Mojo
  6. Bay confirmed this in the directors commentary to his movie Transformers

External links

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