Transformers producers hit with breach of contract suit
Updated: 2014-07-25 07:20
By Ji Jin in Chongqing and Cao Yin in Beijing (China Daily)
Chongqing Karst area logo 'was supposed to be used in movie'
Although the Hollywood blockbuster Transformers: Age of Extinction has been a huge success at the box office in China, it has faced some troubles.
Paramount Pictures and its associated Chinese production company, m1905.com, have been sued for allegedly not fulfilling a contract by failing to include a logo of a Chongqing scenic spot in the film.
Chongqing Wulong Karst Tourism Group, which operates the Wulong Scenic Area, said it filed the suit in Chongqing No 3 Intermediate People's Court on Tuesday, asking the film's producer in the United States and the Chinese company to pay more than 20 million yuan ($3.2 million) in compensation.
The court did not reply on Thursday, but under procedural law, it must give an answer within seven days on whether it will hear the case.
"We decided to protect our rights in legal ways, as the producers didn't give us clear explanations since the film's release on the big screen at the end of June," said Li Chu, a marketing manager at the tourism group.
"The defendants promised to use our logo of the scenic spot, but they breached the contract," Li said.
Chen Zhe, a staff member at Paramount's Chinese office, said on Thursday that the company would not comment on the issue.
Representatives of m1905.com did not respond when China Daily contacted them by phone.
Li said m1905.com explained that the US producer did not understand Chinese and mistook another Chinese logo as Wulong, which was why Wulong was not shown in the film. "But I think it was their excuse to avoid responsibility," he said.
Li told China Daily that logos of some other Chinese scenic spots appeared in the film, so the tourism group was angered by this and decided to sue the company.
"People who have never been to Chongqing will not know it is Wulong in the film due to their failure to show our scenic area's logo," he said.
The tourism group also demanded that the defendants add the logo to the film for future DVDs, or show it as the film is broadcast on televisions and digital platforms, said Tu Wuyang, a lawyer for the company.
"My client invested 4.8 million yuan for the logo placement, and it estimated it will at least lose 12 million yuan from the mistake," Tu said. "What's more, the scenic spot was closed when the film was made there, which also brought about 4 million yuan in losses." Therefore, the lawyer contended, the defendants should pay a total of 20.8 million yuan in compensation.
Tu said Paramount Pictures apologized via a statement that was forwarded by m1905.com, "in which it agreed to add our logo, provide a special cinema scene and give us compensation."
However, Li said, the tourism group has not been given anything yet, which is why it sued the film's producers.
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Tan Yingzi in Chongqing contributed to this story.
Grimlock, team leader of the Dinobots, characters of Hollywood blockbuster Transformers: Age of Extinction, breathes fire against the background that resembles the Karst landform characteristics of Wulong Scenic Area in Wulong, Chongqing. Provided to China Daily
(China Daily USA 07/23/2014 page1)