China’s Huahua Boards Paramount’s ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’

China’s Huahua Media has boarded Paramount Pictures’ upcoming “Transformers: The Last Knight” as investor and exclusive China partner.

A deal was signed in Shanghai last week by Paramount’s Brad Grey and Huahua’s Wang Kefei.

The Michael Bay-directed film is currently in post-production and set for a release in June 2017.

Although two other “Transformers” films are in the pipeline and dated for release in summer 2018 and summer 2019, the agreement with Huahua only covers “The Last Knight,” Paramount’s Mark Viane, co-president of international theatrical marketing and distribution told Variety.

The previous film in the franchise “Transformers: Age of Extinction” had significant Chinese involvement and shot partly in Hong Kong and mainland China. Its Chinese partner and co-financier 1905, part of state-owned China Movie Channel, was involved in finding local cast and promotion through a talent competition and reality show. 1905 and its VoD partner Jiaflix will not be part of “The Last Knight.”

“1905 and Jiaflix were thrilled by the record breaking performance that they managed to generate for ‘Transformers 4,’ which was produced as an assisted co-production and had significant Chinese elements,” said a source close to 1905. “However, the investment appeal of ‘Transformers: The Last Knight,’ which is structured purely as an imported movie is not the same.”

Huahua is a two year old marketing and film finance company which was a subcontractor on “The Age of Extinction.” It has recently stepped up its role as a backer of major Hollywood movies perceived to have appeal to Chinese audiences. Among its recent investments, it has backed “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back,” “Star Trek Beyond” and currently on release “Allied.”

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