The company operating a Chinese scenic park that features in the latest hit film Transformers: Age of Extinction has sued the production firm Paramount Pictures in a dispute over product placement.
The Wulong Karst Tourism company, from the Chongqing administrative region in the southwest of the country, filed a formal law suit on Wednesday, demanding 20.8 million yuan (HK$26.2 million) in compensation.
The tourism company said in its contract with M1905, an agency representing the US film studio, it had promised to pay sponsorship of 6 million yuan to Paramount and would allow the film’s production crew to shoot in its natural setting in exchange for the name of the park being promoted in the film.
But Paramount failed to “show Wulong scenic park’s name or logo through pictures and actors’ lines, as well as to indicate Chinese Wulong in an obvious landmark sign” as was stipulated in the contract signed prior to the film's production, the tourism company said.
The production crew instead shot the film in a way that would lead viewers to believe the location is on the outskirts of Hong Kong, it said.
The compensation demanded by the tourism company includes the return of the 4.8 million yuan sponsorship fee already paid, a fee to cover economic losses of 4 million yuan incurred due to the closure of the park in 2013 during shooting for the film, and a further sum covering “reasonable expected benefit” that accounts to 12 million yuan.
In addition to the compensation, the tourism company also demanded Paramount Pictures include “Wulong, China” in DVDs, television-adapted versions and digital versions of the film released in future.
The latest film in the Transformers franchise featured a considerable number of Chinese elements and it has turned out to be a big hit, especially on the mainland. As of last weekend it had recorded US$300 million all-time-high box office takings in the China alone. Around the world it has a taken around US$886 million.