A sponsorship dispute over “Transformers: Age of Extinction” heated up Tuesday after briefly cooling off this week.
Beijing Pangu Investment Co., a real estate developer who was brought on to the production’s Chinese marketing campaign, is suing two other companies involved in the production. It is alleging breach of contract in an effort to recover its $1.8 million investment, according to court filings.
The filing comes after Beijing Pangu Investment and Paramount Pictures, the studio behind the giant robots franchise, said Monday they had resolved their differences. It appeared that the legal issues might jeopardize the film’s June 27 debut in China, the world’s second biggest market for film. That could have resulted in the loss of millions of dollars in ticket receipts.
The issues between the studio and the developer may have been resolved, with the movie still on track for its Friday release, but Beijing Pangu Investment is moving forward with its legal actions against Jia Bin China Co., Ltd and Beijing Cheng Xin Sheng Shi Sports and Culture Development Co., Ltd.
The suit has been accepted by Beijing Chaoyang Court.
In response, Jiaflix Enterprises, a film company backed by Sid and Marc Ganis, said the company was unfairly trying to imply that it had failed to honor the terms of its contract.
In an interview with Variety, Sid Ganis said his company was not named in the suit, but he felt a need to set the record straight because of the lengths Pangu has gone to try to block the picture’s release. His company helped line up Chinese sponsors such as Pangu, he said.
Despite the similarities in the names, Jiaflix Enterprises is not affiliated with Jia Bin China Co., Ganis said.
The developer’s flagship Pangu Plaza Hotel is featured in the film, but Ganis said the company is upset that it did not receive more merchandising rights.
“The Pangu Hotel, both the exterior and interior, is featured prominently in the film,” said Ganis. “If there’s such a thing as successful product placement, what it got was successful product placement. I can’t answer what bugged them.”