On April 2, Paramount Pictures announced that it will be partnering with China Movie Channel and Jiaflix Enterprises to co-produce the fourth installation in the Transformers <變形金剛> series, making Transformers 4 the highest-profile collaboration between Hollywood and China in the past few years. Recently, director Michael Bay expressed his hope that mainland Chinese actors would be able to audition. Rumors followed that Chen Kun (陳坤), Huang Xiaoming (黃曉明), and Tong Dawei (佟大為) may appear in the film.
In 2012, China officially surpassed Japan as the world’s second largest film market. Moreover, the popularity of Hollywood movies among Chinese audiences has spurred film companies to come up with better ways to enter the Chinese market. In particular, the Transformers franchise is one of the most successful films at the mainland Chinese box office, with Transformers 3, Dark of the Moon, grossing $165 million USD in China. It was natural for Paramount to seek out Chinese collaboration to increase the market appeal of the latest movie.
In his statement, Michael Bay said that he was “proud and honored by how Transformers has been embraced by Chinese audiences,” and that he is “look[ing] forward to working with China Movie Channel and Jiaflix Enterprises to help reach more people here and deepen their passion for this ongoing story and its characters.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, Transformers 4 will be partly filmed in China, with the possibility that some of its post-production work will be completed there as well. The film will also include Chinese actors, although no names have been confirmed.
When asked about the rumor that Huang Xiaoming would act in Transformers 4, Xiaoming’s manager replied, “It is not convenient to answer.” Apart from Chen Kun and Tong Dawei, it is also possible that mainland Chinese actress Fan Bingbing (范冰冰), who appears in the Chinese release of Iron Man 3 <鋼鐵俠3>, may act in Transformers 4 as well.
Transformers 4 is slated for release in June 2014 and will star Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, and Jack Reynor. Earlier reports indicated that Transformers 4 will feature a darker tone and a different storyline from its predecessors.
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