'Transformers 4' to Film in China, Star Chinese Actors as Paramount Enters Co-Production Agreement

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Paramount Pictures

A strict annual quota still limits the number of outside films to 20, but Hollywood tentpoles did enormous business, led by "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" at $170 million, by far the biggest gross outside of North America ($352.4 million).

The studio is teaming with China Movie Channel and Jiaflix Enterprises to give the big-budget film a major presence in the country, where the franchise is a huge hit.

Another big-budget American franchise is tailoring itself for the Chinese market.

Paramount said Tuesday it is partnering with China Movie Channel and Jiaflix Enterprises in a production agreement that would create a major presence for Transformers 4 in the world's most populous nation. China Movie Channel is run by the government's State Administration of Radio Film and Television.

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Through the agreement, according to a press release, the two Chinese companies will help director Michael Bay in with the "selection of filming sites within China, theatrical promotion and possible postproduction activities in China as well as casting of Chinese actors and actresses in the film."

The Transformers franchise has been a mega-hit in the country, with the third film, 2011's Dark of the Moon, earning $165 million there. That movie was the final chapter to star Shia LaBeouf; the series now will feature Mark Wahlberg in the lead role.

Just last week, it was announced that Marvel's Iron Man 3, which was partially shot in Beijing and was financed in part by Beijing-based DMG Entertainment, would release a special cut for the country that included "significant Chinese elements" and "specially prepared bonus footage," as well as an appearance by one of the country's biggest acting stars, Fan Bingbing.