Michael Bay’s film notched up the biggest opening weekend ever for a foreign movie in China, the world’s second largest market, with a gross of $90 million.
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Paramount Pictures heavily catered to the world’s second-largest box-office market and it most certainly paid-off. “Transformers: Age of Extinction“, which was partially shot in China (with both popular Chinese film-stars and young aspiring actors who were chosen via a Chinese reality TV show in its cast), and had its world premiere in Hong Kong, debuted to an extraordinary $90 million in the country.
The $90 million haul in just three days puts it within striking distance of the biggest ever opening in China.
In total, China contributed roughly third of Michael Bay’s fourth “Transformers” film’s international gross and nearly matched its U.S. debut. With its combined worldwide profit of over $300 million, “Age of Extinction” is the biggest international opener of the year.
“It’s a turning point for the dynamic between Hollywood and China, ” said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “This taps into a whole new potential in terms of what a movie can do when it opens at the same time in the U.S. and China.”
Just last week, Zhang Hongsen, a director general of SAPPRFT (State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television) and a member of China Writers Association, said 2014 was “the year when the battle between Hollywood and China really begins.” He pleaded the country’s theater chain owners not to give “Age of Extinction” 100 percent of the screening time and encouraged them to help boost domestic films. However, theater chain owners chose to ignore the call and reap the rewards of the film’s easy-to-predict mass appeal in the country.
“Paramount made the movie organically a part of China as opposed to gratuitously including Chinese elements, ” said Greg Foster, chairman of Imax Entertainment.
“When you work together, you can get incredible results, and that’s key to long-term success in China, ” Rob Moore, vice-chairman of Paramount Pictures, asserted.
With many analysts predicting that China will eclipse the U.S. market for film by 2020 and with the astounding result of “Transformers: Age of Extinction” at the Chinese box office, it is safe to assume that the well-calculated tactic used by Bay and Paramount will set-off a new, lucrative US-Chinese collaboration trend.
“It’s a new frontier, ” says Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. “Anyone who’s not already chasing China, should be.”
Michael Bay is well known for his high impact box office blockbusters, such as “Armageddon”, which he produced and directed way back in 1998, and “Pearl Harbor”, which he produced and directed three years later. Michael Bay’s films are reported to have grossed over three billion dollars world-wide.
Bay also produced the remakes of such cult horror movies as “The Amityville Horror”, “A Nightmare on Elm Street “, two “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” films and the “Friday the 13th” series movies through the Platinum Dunes production company, of which he is the joint owner.