‘Transformers 4′ to Film in China; Michael Bay ‘Honored’ by Chinese Fan Support

Published 2 years ago by

Transformers 3 Chinese Poster Transformers 4 to Film in China; Michael Bay Honored by Chinese Fan Support

Billed as an almost completely new approach to a beloved franchise, Transformers 4 has had one of the more interesting pre-productions in recent history. Bold claims, half-truths, and baseless rumors have swarmed about the project from the day that it was first announced.

Yet, the truths (Mark Wahlberg) behind all that gossip-mongering have nearly been as compelling as the fantasies. The latest news from the production reveals that Transformers 4 may see some very interesting new locations and additions to the cast.

A press release from Paramount has revealed that the company has agreed to partner with the government-backed China Movie Channel and streaming service Jiaflix to produce Transformers 4. Though the partnership is not an official co-production, China Movie Channel (under the supervision of the State Administration of Radio Film and Television) will provide, “… broad-based support of the production of the film in China.” This will include helping to select sites for filming in China and the casting of local actors for the production.

The partnership apparently marks the first time China Movie Channel has actively backed a U.S. film production. It is part of a larger campaign by Paramount to expand into the Chinese film market, which is increasingly becoming one of the largest and most lucrative in the world. As part of the deal, Paramount will soon be providing the rights to several-hundred of its films to Jiaflix for streaming in China.

This quasi-government backing of Transformers 4 springs largely from the previous three films’ immense popularity in China. Transformers: Dark of the Moon made $165 million of its billion-dollar worldwide gross from Chinese moviegoers. A guaranteed blockbuster like Transformers 4 is just about the perfect point for China Movie Channel to get in on the global moviemaking market.

Looper Shanghai Transformers 4 to Film in China; Michael Bay Honored by Chinese Fan Support

Image of the prosperous future Shanghai of ‘Looper.’

Transformers 4 is only the latest in a string of high-profile films that have received financial and/or logistical support from Chinese sources. A different version of Iron Man 3 will be shown in Chinese theaters to emphasize the country’s influence on its production. Similarly, Looper expanded scenes in a prosperous future Shanghai as a result of Chinese investment.

Given the increased focus on Chinese box offices, it’s likely that these kinds of partnerships will only increase in the future. Whether this will be a benefit to international filmmaking is up in the air. It will certainly help to strengthen ties between the Chinese and American film industries, and hopefully lead to more overt creative partnerships down the road. However, the quality and tenor of productions like Transformers 4 will be the real indicators of whether these partnerships are a good and sustainable idea.

Of course, what the partnership means for the actual movie plot isn’t entirely clear at this point. Fans might remember that this isn’t even the first time that Transformers have visited China – since the opening set piece of Revenge of the Fallen saw Shanghai torn to shreds in an Autobot and Decepticon brawl. Could the surviving Decepticons be using China as a staging ground for their next attempt at world domination?

Surely Paramount’s choice to film in China has more to do with appealing to Chinese moviegoers than it does tying together threads in the series’ storyline but it’ll still be interesting to see how the country is implemented in the film.


Transformers 4 will roll out on June 27th, 2014.

Follow Kyle Hembree on Twitter @ProjectNightHam
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  1. A Michael Bay movie… “made in China.”

    Never have those three words sounded so appropriate.

    • +100

  2. China is quickly becoming a powerhouse in the worldwide film industry. With its ever growing box office returns, it’s only a matter of time before they can film movies that rival Hollywood productions in terms of production value.

    Is it really such a good idea filming in China, dear Hollywood studio heads? Doing so would only pass on the technical know how to the numerous low wage Chinese labors. You are only giving the state owned Chinese film industry a powerful tool in fueling their propaganda machine.

    • the VFX houses are already moving there… which is in part the reason for the VFX protest that is taking place right now.

      • Unfortunately, that’s true. However, that is also the sad nature of computer effect. Data and images can be transferred through fiber optic networks, but set constructions, organized film shoots on a large scale are not as easily out sourced…unless movie studios SERIOUSLY makes an effort doing so.

        Make no mistake, China is not some third world country where the US can simply exploit and move on to the next with more cheap labor. They have a huge economy to support a movie industry that can rival Hollywood.

    • When you think of all the propaganda that has come out of Hollywood over more than half a century, China’s efforts in this area are pretty puny.

  3. Honored? They should BANNED Michael Bay from China!

  4. Didn’t Screenrant just have a story a few weeks ago that it will film in Michigan? Are they filming in both locations or what?

    • remember the transformers were invented by hasbro…and asian company

      • LOL, not hardly! the three Hassenfeld brothers formed the company that became Hasbro in 1923 in America. The majority of their products are manufactured in East Asia though so perhaps their choice to ship jobs over there is behind your statement…

        • Now everything is really never made in the US anymore. Plus isn’t the transformers originally from a Japanese line of toys purchased by Hasboro?Japan and China are two completely different countries although both considered “Asian” they have very different philosophies and idealogies. One is communist (China) and one is not.

  5. you need get shia as a leading role in the new transformers 4 it just wont be as good hes bin them throughout its like changing harry potter half way through make it happen please

  6. Chinese are too greedy. They think they have so much money and just simply can buy America’s brain.