From all indications, Paramount’s Transformers 4 is going to break the box-office record set by Avatar in China. The latest installment in the sci-fi series easily grabbed 800 million yuan (US$129 million) in just five days of screening across the nation. Avatar made a record 1.37 billion yuan in 2009.
Not all viewers enjoyed the movie, however. Many were put off by too many advertisements of Chinese companies which were embedded in the film itself. Netizens are having a field day making fun of them.
In one scene, for example, a guy is running for his life. All of a sudden, he pulls out a box of Shuhua milk, a product of Yili Group, and drinks it. In another, a box of Zhou Hei Ya, a famous brand of food snacks made from ducks, is seen lying beside the fridge in the most conspicuous manner and for no apparent reason.
Other implanted brands include Chinese liquor maker Jian Nan Chun and real estate developer Pangu Holdings.
Chinese firms are eager to raise their international profile through Transformers 4. Nearly 20 brands have placed their products in the movie, and over half of them are Chinese. That’s three times higher than in the previous three movies of the series.
Paramount is more than happy to accommodate. The film producer spent US$210 million to make Transformers 4, and is eager to recoup the cost as soon as possible.
It transferred part of the risk by selling its box-office and copyrights in China to video site m1905.com for around US$50 million, according to 21st Century Business Herald. Implanted ads, which cost at least US$1 million for each brand, brought additional income.
The local government of Chongqing, for instance, reportedly paid 10 million yuan to get its tourist attraction Wulong to be shown in the movie for about two minutes.
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