'Transformers' Lands in Moscow for World Premiere

Shia LaBeouf
Lucian Capellaro

"Dark of the Moon" director Michael Bay says, "We're traveling to certain countries, BRIC countries -- Brazil, Moscow, China -- because they are big emerging markets."

MOSCOW -- The world premiere of Transformers: Dark of the Moon opened the 33rd Moscow International Film Festival on Thursday night at the Pushkinsky Theater, Russia's main film venue.

Several stars of the movie walked MIFF's green carpet for the premiere, including Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Josh Duhamel, Patrick Dempsey, John Malkovich (who received a lifetime achievement award at the opening ceremony) and Tyrese Gibson, as well as director Michael Bay and producers Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Ian Bryce.

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"Russia is an emerging market, it is becoming very important," Bay said at a press conference earlier in the day, answering the question why the world premiere was being held in Moscow. "We're traveling to certain countries, BRIC countries -- Brazil, Moscow, China -- because they are big emerging markets."

"When a large Hollywood company offers us to have a world premiere of its film, we cannot reject it," Nikita Mikhalkov, renowned film director and the festival's president, said at the opening ceremony. "We hope that events like that would help to improve the situation in our film industry."

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Paramount execs Brad Grey, Rob Moore, Adam Goodman, Randy Spendlove, Marc Evans, and Megan Colligan also attended the premiere.

A show by the American alternative band Linkin Park, which wrote the song "Iridescent" for the movie's soundtrack, was held the same night on Vassilyevsky Spusk, just outside the Kremlin.

Meanwhile, this is not the first time when a premiere of a major Hollywood movie is chosen as the festival's opening night movie. Three years ago, the world premiere of Peter Berg's Hancock was also timed to the opening night of the festival.

More than 400 films are to be screened at the festival. Seventeen films are to compete for the festival's main award, the Golden St George. The jury, presided by actress Geraldine Chaplin, is to announce the winners at the closing ceremony on July 2.

Two industry events, the Film Finance Forum Moscow 2011 and the 3rd Moscow Co-Production Forum, are to be held as part of the festival.