A Chinese scenic park is suing US film studio Paramount Pictures over a product placement miscalculated, in the latest controversy to afflict Hollywood’s love affair with China. The grottoes landscape of southern China’s Wulong nature reserve caught the eye of Michael Bay, director of the fourth episode of the Transformers motion picture franchise, who picked the site for a two-minute sequence during which much of its plunging chasms and natural flying buttresses are digitally incinerated in a battle between a giant alien robot and a mechanical, flame-breathing dinosaur.
Yet, on Tuesday it emerged that the Chongqing Wulong Karst Tourism Association, which administers the region, is suing Paramount Pictures, which produced Transformers: Age of Extinction, alleging that the succession might be confounding to the hearing, specifically due to the absence of the Wulong nature preserve’s logo.
The system stated the omission violates an agreement with Paramount Pictures, though the studio’s Chinese partners said the nature park did not present the needed payment on time, ensuing in a rushed production schedule.
The tourism agency issued a bit of emails between it and Beijing-based 1905 Internet Technology Company, Paramount’s partner, which presented the picture studio had agreed to “a prominent display” of the Wulong sign. Users commenting on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, appeared sympathetic: “It truly looks like Optimus Prime just hopped from a mass in Hong Kong to Chongqing when it is edited together.
The dispute is the second Paramount has overlooked the movie. Two weeks ago, it had to deal with a lawsuit by Pangu Plaza, a seven-star hotel in Beijing, that said a product placement deal for which it paid handsomely had not been honored. Between other things, it stated it was assumed to feature for at least 20 seconds in the film and host a show of the Transformer robots at the hotel.
The argument has not dented the film’s success in the country: as of last Sunday, it had realized more in China than in the US, at $213m and $175m respectively, according to the box office tracking website. The movie was put out on the same day in both marketplaces.