This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

How Viacom's 'Transformers' Is Charming China's Hollywood Skeptics, Cashing In

Stocks in this article: VIABRENT

TAIPEI, TAIWAN (TheStreet) -- Hollywood blockbuster Transformers: Age of Extinction is smashing box-office records in China, a country that historically squelches Western movies to stoke nationalism on the way to promoting its domestic film industry.

Transformers 4 was also a big hit out of the gate in the U.S., despite mixed reviews. But its sales have dropped drastically after the opening weekend. The film sold $100 million in tickets in its first weekend in the U.S., ending June 29, and $36.4 million for the week ending July 6 according to Rentrack (RENT).

Beijing is welcoming this latest summer thriller partly because it was filmed in China and the government wants local filmmakers to learn from U.S. production companies so that they might develop a stronger domestic movie industry.

When Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom (VIAB) released Transformers over the past week, it earned $101.6 million, about equal to box office returns in North America, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The fourth in the Transformers series also won the distinction of being China's biggest ever cinematic opening at 200 million yuan, or $32.2 million.

Nissan LEAF: Revisiting the World's Best-Selling Electric Car

Tesla Motors Q&A: Batteries, Superchargers, Gigafactory and More

SABMiller to Sell Stake in South African Hotel and Casino Operator

Chinese viewers welcomed the film not because they're so hot on Hollywood itself but because parts of the sci-fi plot were set in China, specifically Chongqing and Hong Kong.

That means global exposure for the country's sights, an income generator for cities that supported the crews and proof that China is on the world film map.

"People's taste in film is pretty varied and they don't watch just American films," says Mei Feng, a professor at Beijing Film Academy.

Chinese actress Li Bingbing, known at home for roles in earlier action films, also starred in the latest Transformers. Her role suggests that the brains behind Transformers wanted a large China audience.

China is further unopposed to the local box office bounties being hunted down by Transformers 4 director Michael Bay and executive producer Steven Spielberg because they will stoke local filmmakers to perfect a domestic industry.

Future releases would ideally reach cinemas outside China where audiences know little of Chinese dramas, even its trendiest ones such as The Breakup Guru, released June 27. China, keen to expand its culture abroad to match its economic supremacy, expects to develop a global film industry with the takeoff of an $8 billion movie-making complex built over four years by Wang Jianlin, one of China's richest people. "It's a two-way street," Mei says.

More releases of American films in China or Chinese films abroad will help major film distributors such as Time Warner's (TWX) Warner Bros. and projection system designer Imax, which already has stakes deep in China.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,805.41 +127.51 0.76%
S&P 500 1,964.58 +13.76 0.71%
NASDAQ 4,483.7150 +30.9230 0.69%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs