Chinese hotel suspends cooperation for new ‘Transformers’ movie

A 20-foot-tall Optimus Prime figure is surrounded by journalists before the world premiere of "Transformers 4" in Hong Kong.
(Philippe Lopez / AFP/Getty Images)

The investment company behind Pangu Plaza, a Beijing property featured in the new “Transformers” movie, said on Friday it is suspending cooperation with the film.

The company said it revoked permission to use Pangu’s image in “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” as well as in advertising for the film. The company warned all parties not to use Pangu’s image, trademark or any shots of the interior or exterior, and it said any such images, if already included, should be removed.

Pangu said it had entered into an agreement with Paramount Pictures and affiliated companies in June 2013 and the two sides had agreed that Pangu Plaza would be featured in the fourth “Transformers” film.

According to Pangu, the companies also agreed that the complex would be included in advertising and posters for the Michael Bay-directed summer blockbuster. In return, Pangu pledged to contribute financing to the production.




1:34 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that the investment company behind the Pangu Plaza hotel is suing Paramount Pictures. The investment company’s complaint names Chengxin and Jia Fu China Limited, not Paramount.



Pangu alleged that its partners had not lived up to their side of the bargain.

A Paramount representative said in a statement that the movie features the hotel prominently.

“Pangu Plaza has a prominent placement in ‘Transformers 4' and it looks beautiful onscreen,” the spokesperson said on Friday. “We regret that Pangu is not currently satisfied with certain aspects of our collaboration and are working to resolve its concerns.”

According to local media reports, Pangu said the two sides also agreed that there would be a major exhibition of props from the film at the complex, lasting at least eight months, and that a VIP world premiere would be held at the complex.


Pangu said it is asking SARFT, the government agency that controls release of films in China, to suspend or stop the movie’s release, which is slated for June 27 on the mainland. The film had its premiere in Hong Kong on Thursday and is scheduled to be shown as the closing night film of the Shanghai Film Festival on Sunday.

Pangu asserted that the Chaoyang District Court in Beijing had accepted the case, although they were waiting on an “official response.”

China is an important market for the big-budget franchise. The 2011 installment “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” generated the equivalent of $165 million in ticket sales from that country, according to Box Office Mojo. The movie grossed a total of $1.12 billion worldwide.

All told, the “Transformers” movies have hauled in about $2.67 billion globally according to Box Office Mojo.


The deal with Pangu wasn’t the only effort to include Chinese elements. A casting contest was launched to fill four minor roles for Chinese actors.

Makinen reported from Beijing, Faughnder reported from Los Angeles.

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter: @rfaughnder