series Lorenzo di Bonaventura has spoken to Deadline Hollywood
about the Transformers movies and the nature of the series' partnership with China. The article also drops a small piece of information about the number of robots we can expect to see in the film - and it's less than even 2007's Transformers
, as we all expected. But also more than two! And also, an interesting tidbit about why, exactly, Transformers is so big in China to begin with. Keep reading to see!
Through five movies, the Transformers franchise has grossed $817M alone in China. The Hasbro movies’ explosion at the box office have been in tandem with the boom of the Middle Kingdom’s exhibition infrastructure, including Imax and 3D. The first Transformers movie ten years ago grossed $37.2M in China, repping only 5% of its $709.7M global gross. Chinese tickets sales hit a peak with 2015’s Transformers: Age of Extinction, raking in $320M, or 29% of its $1.1 billion worldwide haul. This summer’s Transformers: The Last Knight continued to yield strong results in China with $228.8M; an even greater share of the pic’s global ticket sales, 38% of $605.4M.
Bumblebee is expected to refresh the franchise after Last Knight, while not losing the spirit that Michael Bay has hammered out. Last Knight slowed in ticket sales, as the movie was a challenge for more sophisticated audience markets to decipher from its previous installments. Bumblebee is different in that it’s a period piece that takes place in 1987 and will only star four Transformers in total, as opposed to previous’ titles massive robot car ensembles. Bumblebee opens on Dec. 21 next year.
The explanation for China's love of Transformers:
It’s one of the few American properties that made it on Chinese TV decades ago before the country’s cultural and commerce walls opened up. Older Chinese audiences have an emotional affinity to Transformers, much in the way that Americans might be drawn to Star Wars, which explains why the franchise has taken off in the Middle Kingdom.