Michael Bay Set Attack Sparks Social Media Frenzy About Hong Kong's Location Appeal
Webizens in Hong Kong expressed their fears that the attack on Michael Bay on the set of Transformers 4 could negatively impact the territory's appeal as a place to shoot movies.
The director and several crewmembers escaped injury after they were assaulted by a man wielding an air-conditioning unit as a weapon.
"Who else will dare to come to Hong Kong to shoot in the future?" wrote Huiyi on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of the banned Twitter network.
Still other online commentators had more pressing concerns.
Da Ling Xiaodongdong wrote: "Will Michael Bay angrily erase Hong Kong from the Earth?"
The message was often quite mixed. Haha da duizhang said: "Michael Bay finally got his revenge. He said himself that he will only make three Transformers movies and now he is making number four. Also, more disgusting is that he included so many trashy Chinese actors. Now he has been beaten up. Even though the Transformers are strong, they are not as powerful as the gangsters."
There seemed to be a widespread presumption that the attack was the work of Triad gangsters, even though Paramount insisted it was the work of a man under the influence of narcotics.
"In Hong Kong, gangsters collecting charges for working in the field is an old tradition. There is even a reference to this in Zhou Xingchi's movie King of Comedy talking about this," said Li ba mud.
There was also considerable embarrassment that this happened in Hong Kong, a sophisticated and cosmopolitan place, and some commentators used the incident as an excuse to berate their countrymen.
"Why do Chinese people have such low quality," bemoaned one commentator, Ci zhongguo wawa.
The incident could also prove a bonus for mainland China's efforts to promote itself as a film location, as security is rarely an issue in China.
The producers have worked hard to push the movie as a Sino-U.S. co-production, thereby allowing it to sidestep the Chinese import quota and also take a bigger share of box-office earnings in what is now the second-biggest source of box-office revenue in the world.
Four young Chinese actors were chosen to play supporting roles in Transformers 4 in a reality TV show aired on state broadcaster CCTV's Movie Channel on Aug. 31.