Paramount Pictures has signed a co-production deal with two Chinese entities for its "Transformers 4" and will film part of the action movie in China.
Paramount's deal was signed Monday with China Movie Channel, which is operated by the country's State Administration of Radio Film and Television, and Jiaflix Enterprises.
As part of the arrangement, the Michael Bay-directed film will include Chinese actors and be partly shot in China. At least some of the project's post-production work could also be done in China.
"I look forward to working with China Movie Channel and Jiaflix Enterprises to help reach more people here and deepen their passion for this ongoing story and its characters,” Bay said in a statement.
“Transformers 4” is expected to be released in China on or about June 27, 2014, according to the companies' announcement. Mark Wahlberg is set to star. The previous film in the series, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," was released in 2011 and took in $165 million in China.
Jiaflix is headed by Sid Ganis, former studio head and president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
Co-production is a key way for U.S. companies to tap China's growing appetite for movies. Projects made with a local partner are not subject to import restrictions, and stateside partners are allowed to take a greater percentage of box-office receipts.
The Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday that a new Chinese co-production from Village Roadshow Pictures Asia, a unit of Australian media company Village Roadshow Ltd., is close to grossing more at China's box office than any other Chinese-made film in history.
The film, "Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons," has taken in $200.5 million in China.
On March 29, Walt Disney Co. subsidiary Marvel Studios and Chinese media company DMG announced that a unique version of "Iron Man 3" would be released in China. There, the superhero film will include special bonus footage, including an appearance by Chinese actress Fan Bingbing.
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