Part of action film to be shot in China
Updated: 2013-04-04 11:28
By Caroline Berg in New York (China Daily)
Part of Transformers 4, a sequel of one of the most popular Hollywood exports ever released in China, will be filmed in the country.
Paramount Pictures, China Movie Channel and Jiaflix Enterprises announced the joint project recently in Beijing and Los Angeles.
The agreement marks the first time China Movie Channel will work with a Western studio to produce a major motion picture. The channel will scout locations in China, create promotion material and possibly assist in casting Chinese actors and conduct post-production activities in China.
"Michael Bay recognizes and appreciates the Chinese fans' interest in his Transformers movies," Marc Ganis, president of Jiaflix, said about the films' director. "Filming in China will be done in a manner that will allow the Chinese audience to enjoy his film in the best possible way."
Paramount was the first major studio to officially partner with Jiaflix to help distribute films in China and has agreed to supply Jiaflix with more than 250 films annually.
"Our relationship with Paramount is deep and full of trust," Ganis said.
China Movie Channel and its official movie website M1905.com have been working with Jiaflix to launch a Netflix-like movie-streaming service to import Hollywood movies for Chinese television and Internet, as well as introduce Chinese movies to the North American market.
"Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon, released in China in 2011, grossed $165 million in China and more than $1.1 billion worldwide. The highest grossing Hollywood film screened in China has been Avatar. To date, the movie which was released in 2010 and was partially filmed in China's picturesque Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, has made $221.9 million.
"Transformers 4 will star Mark Wahlberg and is expected to be released in China and the US in June 2014.
"Transformers is the kind of science fiction, futuristic story that transcends cultural and language boundaries," Ganis said.
"The films are less about the dialogue and instead more action driven and tells the quintessential good versus evil story that can be found in any culture."
China recently expanded its annual 20-foreign-film limit to allow 14 premium format films, such as IMAX or 3D, to be exempt from the quota, as well as their 2D versions .
"Anything that can bring revenue in is important," New York Film Academy President Jerry Sherlock said about US filmmaking in China. "China is a tremendous and mostly untapped market."
Aside from the potential of huge ticket sales in China, Sherlock said Chinese film crews are fast and talented. He believes it's China's time to shine in the film world spotlight.
Ganis said he hopes the filming of Transformers 4 and other movies in China will open new perspectives to Chinese culture for American audiences.
"It's important to let the world see through film, as only some people get to do in real life, China and the Chinese people as they are in the modern world apart from news reports," he said. "It's like if people only based their perceptions of Chicago on what they read and heard in the news, they would have a really bad and skewed perception."
(China Daily 04/04/2013 page5)