I’m not the slightest bit surprised to read a report on Paramount considering the relocation of their Transformers storyline to China because it’s essentially the same story I’ve been repeating for months, if not years now: Hollywood wants to be able to release its films in China and appeal to Chinese audience because that marketplace is soaring. I’ve lost count of how many blog posts I have written that feature some sort of US-China co-production of blockbuster cross-pollination component.
So, yeah, I’m not the slightest bit surprised, but I do have some questions.
Vulture say that the film:
is likely to be set in mainland China.
…without quantifying at all, implying that all or most of the film will be set there.
But we’re already watching the film cast a Texan race car driver, his girlfriend and her dad and dealing with robots that, more often than not, mimic specifically American vehicles. It would seem quite conspicuous, if not flat-out contrived, to relocate all of this at the top of the film, wouldn’t it?. Surely we’ll have to get to a plot point that necessitates this huge move? Something suitably high stakes?
Maybe I’m being naive, but I’d expect a move to China somewhere in the body of the film, perhaps at the end of the first act, perhaps at the end of the second.
Box office in China is exploding at a massive rate – Vulture’s report says that the market grew 35% there just last year. By the time Transformers 4 rolls around, it’s almost certainly going to be the biggest non-US market in the world. I understand Paramount’s thinking – they’ve got a commodity and they’re looking to make it appeal to the broadest of possible audiences.
I just wish that meant making it as good a film as possible, but, yeah, I know it doesn’t.
Incidentally, Google tells me that two Transformers cartoons featured scenes on the Great Wall of China: something called Side Burn chased somebody called Kelly there, and in another instance, some robot called Overlord used it as his podium to declare an ultimatum to humanity – either they surrender or he’d destroy Tokyo.
Hang on – he told the Chinese to surrender or he’d destroy Tokyo? I’d love to see that episode. What did they do? Just laugh at him?
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