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'Transformers 4' Eyeing China Production to Maximize Franchise Box Office

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood November 16, 2012 at 1:07PM

Mark Wahlberg will be the new leading man in Michael Bay's "Transformers 4," and the production may have its sights set on mainland China for this installment of the testosterone-fueled franchise.
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Michael Bay Transformers

Mark Wahlberg will be the new leading man in Michael Bay's "Transformers 4," and the production may have its sights set on mainland China for this installment of the testosterone-fueled franchise.

Of course Bay and Paramount have profits in mind; setting the money-maker in China and partnering with a local production company will likely ensure a wide release for the film, where it can maximize its Chinese box office potential.

Cultural censors will reportedly serve as consultants on the in-the-works "Transformers" script, to ensure that the Chinese military are portrayed as "a highly competent group of superfighters." Because it is a Bay film, the American military will no doubt also get its usual ra-ra-USA time.

Chinese box office grew 35% last year alone, tallying $2 billion. This makes China the second largest international market in the world, following Japan, a market China is expected to eclipse by year's end. But because domestic productions only account for 40% of the country's box office, the Chinese government has been laying down restrictions for many big American blockbusters. For example, "The Dark Knight Rises" and "The Amazing Spider Man" were pitted against one another, receiving the same opening weekend in late August. Both films made just over $30 million upon release, considerably less than each would have made if given a separate opening weekend.

This article is related to: News, Michael Bay, Transformers, Box Office, News


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.