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Monday, Jun 23, 2014

Asia

Chinese developer demands edits to new Transformers film

Monday, Jun 23, 2014

A 20 foot-tall Optimus Prime figure is surrounded by journalists before the world premiere of Hollywood movie Transformers 4 in Hong Kong on June 19, 2014

BEIJING - A Beijing property developer said on Saturday it has terminated cooperation with the new Transformers movie, wants Paramount Pictures to make edits to it and is asking China to suspend screenings of the blockbuster film.

The company owns Pangu Plaza, a dragon-shaped hotel, office and mall complex that is featured in Transformers: Age of Extinction, the latest instalment of the hit franchise.

Beijing Pangu Investment Co Ltd said in a statement that Paramount and two Chinese associate partners failed to fulfil their obligations in a sponsorship deal.

"The loss of rights and interests not only caused the Pangu company's original business plan to fail, incurring huge losses, more seriously, it has affected Pangu Plaza's image and reputation," the statement said.

Pangu said it is suing its Chinese partners for contract fraud and demanding that Paramount delete scenes from the movie that feature images of its logo and properties. It said it has also asked the Chinese government's film regulator to suspend or stop screenings of the movie, which is due to open in Chinese cinemas on Friday.

Pangu said it provided at least 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) in funding and that its Chinese partners never delivered on pledges to hold the movie premiere at Pangu's hotel and feature images of its property in trailers and movie posters.

Instead, the movie's worldwide premiere was held in Hong Kong on Thursday and was attended by stars that included Mark Wahlberg and the good-guy robot, Optimus Prime.

The film's debut in the southern Chinese metropolis ahead of its launch in New York next week is the latest sign of Hollywood's increasing focus on China's booming film market. China is the world's second-largest film market, with box-office revenues up by nearly a third in the first quarter after rising 27.5 per cent last year to $3.6 billion.

The property developer also said its Chinese partners told Pangu it would be allowed to manufacture and sell Transformers merchandise authorised by Paramount and hold an exhibition of the movie's filmmaking equipment on its premises for at least eight months.

The Pangu statement, however, did not say whether Paramount was aware that its Chinese partners were making such promises. It said the hotel hosted senior executives from Paramount and Jiaflix as well as the movie's director, Michael Bay, and its crew, for whom the company facilitated the shooting of the Pangu Plaza and surrounding areas.

Paramount did not immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment, while calls to the Chinese partners named in Pangu's statement - Jiaflix China and the Beijing Chengxin Shengshi Sports Culture Development Company Ltd. - rang unanswered.

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