Congratulations to Paramount, which is finally in court on a $27 million lawsuit for failing to actually place a product from a product placement deal. Yeah. On one side is Paramount, the studio behind the Transformers franchise, and on the other side is a Chinese business who paid them to put even more logos in the movie. Can neither side win?
Wulong Karst Tourism, a state-backed travel company, is arguing that Paramount and the Chinese co-producer of Transformers: Age of Extinction, China Movie Channel, failed to live up the obligations of a deal they had. The tourism company says it paid $750,000 for a logo with the Chinese characters for “China Wulong” to appear in the movie.
Everyone admits the logo isn’t in the movie, but the way that Paramount claims they made up for it is kind of amazing. Michael Bay supposedly shot a commercial for Wulong Karst Tourism and the sets and props were left behind. You know, so Wulong Karst could make a tourist attraction out of some rusting shit the Americans couldn’t be bothered to properly dispose of.
Wulong Karst did not accept their substitutions. A case was accepted by a court in Chongqing city and is now actually being heard.
This is actually a bigger problem than it seems for Paramount. Wulong Karst is “state-backed,” i.e. Chinese government-backed. And many movies these days rely heavily on the Chinese box office for their profits. Especially action movies. Especially, especially action movies that critics don’t like and/or are doing poorly in America. If you can’t understand why something’s getting a sequel, “It did well in China” is probably why.
“Not pissing off China” is a major part of film production these days. Marvel scrubbed Doctor Strange clean of every reference to anything remotely Tibetan for that exact reason. Now Paramount allegedly failed to follow through on a deal with the “state-backed” tourism company? Oof. Good thing that the Chinese government is well-known for placing no demands or restrictions on foreign movies. Oh, wait.
Somehow Paramount couldn’t find room for a logo in its giant product-placement extravaganza of a movie. Which turns out to be a major screwup since the people who originally paid $750,000 are now suing for $27 million.
Everyone involved—on both sides—is awful.