According to local reports and a statement released by Huahua, a deal was signed by Paramount’s Brad Grey and Huahua’s Wang Kefei last week.
Huahua made its first global investment in a tentpole with Paramount and Skydance’s Star Trek Beyond this year. The Chinese studio had a pre-existing relationship with Paramount, having collaborated on the marketing for Transformers: Age of Extinction, TMNT, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Terminator: Genisys and others.
It recently partnered with Paramount on Tom Cruise sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, putting in a significant investment from Huahua’s joint venture with Shanghai Film Group and is the sole Chinese partner in Paramount and GK Films’ Brad Pitt-starrer Allied.
Having a local marketing partner is an increasingly popular route to help navigate the complicated market. But it doesn’t guarantee a win. Allied has made about $4M in its first week, despite Pitt’s high-profile visit to the Middle Kingdom. The market nevertheless is extremely crowded this month amid a slowdown in growth.
The next Transformers should fare better. Transformers: Age of Extinction was the first film to cross the $300M box office milestone in China when it bowed there in 2014. That installment of the franchise, which was shot in Hong Kong and mainland China, was co-financed by 1905, part of state-owned China Movie Channel.
Transformers: The Last Night is directed by Michael Bay and stars Mark Wahlberg, Laura Haddock, Anthony Hopkins, Isabela Moner, Stanley Tucci, John Goodman, John Turturro and Josh Duhamel and is due for a U.S. release on June 23.