With Michael Bay busy testing young hotties to join “Transformers 4,” and weaving Mark Wahlberg into the story, it looks like he’s finding a way to set the story in China. Nope, it’s not for creative reasons, it’s for the bottom line. Mo’ money, mo’ problems.
Vulture reports that Bay and Paramount are looking at mainland China to serve as the backdrop for the next film in order to help with the all-important international box office. Essentially it works like this: set your movie in China and work with a local production company, and the odds are you’ll get preferential treatment. If you don’t? Well, at the end of August this year “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “The Dark Knight Rises” both opened on the same weekend in China, effectively crippling both movies in terms of what they could have made if they had weekends to themselves. But getting your movie produced and set in China certainly helps make sure you get prime calendar space.
While everyone around the movie is declining to comment, a Paramount spokewoman does offer up this much: “All I can say is, ‘It is not a Chinese co-production,’ and that’s where things stand right now.” Financing from China has become popular recently, with Marvel getting coin from the country for “Iron Man 3,” and Rian Johnson doing the same for “Looper,” even giving audiences there an extended version of the Shanghai sequence by request.
And here’s another interesting twist: Chinese censors will apparently consult on the project to make sure “that the Chinese military are depicted as a highly competent group of super-fighters” and “not some third-world force.” Not all that surprising, but it’s not like Bay is going over there to shoot a documentary. And while THR reported today that producers were also looking at Thailand, Vulture speculates it could be an additional location or some kind of negotation tactic — like when “The Hobbit” briefly threatened to move its production to Canada, U.S.A., Scotland or Ireland during labor troubles in pre-production — but they insist China is number one.
Does any of this matter? Not really. Bay just wants to blow shit up, and this time he’ll do it over there. Shrug. He’ll just have to tell the cast and crew to make sure their passports are up to date.