‘Transformers’ fight in China continues; Jiaflix swipes at Pangu

Visitors to Beijing's Pangu Plaza take photos Saturday of a replica of the Transformer Bumblebee on display as part of a promotion of the movie "Transformers: Age of Extinction."
(Andy Wong / Associated Press)

Film company Jiaflix Enterprises is trying to distance itself from the dispute that has ensnared the big-budget “Transformers” movie set for release this week.

The tense situation began late last week when Beijing Pangu Investment Co., the developer behind the Pangu Plaza hotel, mall and office complex, said its product-placement deal for the new movie had not met its expectations.

Pangu said it would no longer cooperate with the film, asked regulators to stop its release and launched a lawsuit.

There are no plans to halt the release of the hoped-for blockbuster that’s set to hit mainland China on Friday.

Jiaflix, one of Paramount’s production and marketing partners in China, is not idly standing by.


The company, founded by former Paramount President Sid Ganis, his cousin Marc and Kenneth Huang, said Tuesday that Pangu falsely claimed that Jiaflix breached the terms of the product-placement deal.

“We do not understand why Pangu, which is presented in an extraordinary manner to the world in Michael Bay’s Transformers 4, would make such inaccurate assertions,” the company’s founders said in a statement.

The company also accused Pangu of making other false statements. Jiaflix said Pangu incorrectly claimed that an entity called Jiafu China Ltd is part of or affiliated with Jiaflix, which is based in the United States with offices in Santa Monica and Chicago.

The Beijing Chaoyang Court said Monday that it formally accepted Pangu’s case against two entities, Jiafu China Co. Ltd. and Beijing Cheng Xin Sheng Shi Sports and Culture Development Co. Ltd. The company is demanding the repayment of the $1.8 million it invested in the deal.

Pangu Plaza is a vast dragon-shaped complex in northern Beijing with a 234-room hotel, apartments, office space, restaurants and shops.

Shortly after Pangu made its displeasure known last week, Paramount Pictures waged a diplomacy campaign.

Executives moved a giant replica of the Bumblebee Transformer to the entry of the Pangu complex, and a Beijing premiere was quickly organized. Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore, director Michael Bay, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura and star Jack Reynor jetted in to hold a news conference.

Lu Tao, chief executive of Beijing Pangu Investment Co., said Monday that the company has dropped its request to block the movie’s release, but still planned on filing lawsuits over the product-placement contract.

Times staff writer Julie Makinen contributed to this report from Beijing.

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter: @rfaughnder