China's Huahua Media Buys Into 'Transformers: The Last Knight'
The most recent film in the franchise, 'Transfomers: Age of Extinction,' earned $320 million in China, some $75 million more than it took home in North America.
Fast-growing Chinese film company Huahua Media has taken a stake in Paramount Pictures' Transformers: The Last Knight. The Chinese studio also will serve as the Michael Bay-directed tentpole's local marketing partner in the Middle Kingdom.
The deal was reached last week at a signing ceremony in Shanghai between Paramount chairman Brad Grey and Huahua CEO Wang Kefei, a rep for the Chinese studio confirmed Wednesday. The size of Huahua's investment and equity stake in the film, along with further details of the arrangement, were not disclosed.
The Chinese studio has an ongoing relationship with Paramount, having collaborated on the marketing for Transformers: Age of Extinction, TMNT 2, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Terminator Genisys and others. It recently invested in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, Star Trek Beyond and Allied, currently in release in China.
The Transformers franchise has a huge following in China, the world's second-biggest box-office territory. The most recent installment, 2014's Transformers: Age of Extinction, earned $320 million there, some $75 million more than it reached at home in North America. Some Chinese fans have even taken to making life-size replicas of the movie's Autobot heroes.
Age of Extinction was conceived with the Chinese market very much in mind. The film was partially shot in Hong Kong and mainland China, with 1905.com, the online video service of state-owned China Movie Channel, serving as a financing and marketing partner. It also had numerous product placements targeting Chinese consumers.
The Last Knight, the fifth film in Bay's saga, is currently in postproduction, with a release set for June 23. Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci reprise their roles from Age of Extinction, alongside Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson and John Turturro from the first three films.