×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Transformers’ Prequel ‘Bumblebee’ Gets China Release Date

UPDATED: “Bumblebee,” the sixth installment of Paramount’s “Transformers” franchise, will buzz into Chinese theaters Jan. 4, 2019, two weeks after its U.S. premiere.

The prequel is set 20 years before the first “Transformers” film (2007) and follows the story of a government agency chasing down autobot Bumblebee and the teenage girl who befriends him, played by Hailee Steinfeld. It is the first movie in the series not to be shot by director Michael Bay, who was nevertheless involved as producer. 

The previous two “Transformers” films were bigger hits in China than they were in the U.S. Last year’s “Transformers: The Last Knight” took in $229 million in China – $99 million more than in U.S. – and 2014’s “Transformers: The Age of Extinction” raked in $320 million, outstripping its $245 million showing in the States.

The opening-day windfall for “The Last Knight” was one of the best of all time in China. Nevertheless, the film did not ultimately bring in as much as had been projected, signaling a potential slowdown in the mainland’s appetite for Autobot action.

In the past two years, Chinese viewers’ enthusiasm for the “Transformers” series has “rapidly declined,” local box office analyst Luo Tianwen was quoted as saying by the Beijing News, adding that “director Michael Bay’s visual bombardment has left audiences with aesthetic fatigue.” As a spinoff, “Bumblebee” can likely expect less of a haul than a full “Transformers” franchise movie.

Nevertheless, Tencent Pictures announced late Wednesday that it has joined Paramount as an investor and co-marketing partner for the film, signing on to promote it in China. The company called the move “a key step for Tencent’s overseas business” now that it is “prioritized exploring international markets.” The company will also partner with Paramount on the upcoming sequel to “Top Gun,” to be released in the summer of 2020.

Tencent Pictures has previously been a collaborator on a number of big U.S. blockbusters, including “Wonder Woman,” “Ready Player One,” and “Venom”, this year’s fifth highest grossing film globally.

“Tencent’s involvement in many high-profile international projects has demonstrated its strong capacity in marketing campaigns in China, making Tencent an ideal partner to share this film with a global audience,” said Paramount chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos.

More Film

  • Lisa Borders Time's Up

    Time's Up President Lisa Borders Resigns

    Lisa Borders has resigned as president of Time’s Up, she and the organization announced on Monday. Borders is resigning due to family issues, she said in a statement. Time’s Up COO Rebecca Goldman will now serve as interim CEO. “As Time’s Up continues to grow, I am proud of the work I have done to [...]

  • Keira Knightly as "Rachael Morgan" in

    Film Review: Keira Knightley in 'The Aftermath'

    Less widely seen (and acclaimed) than it deserved to be, James Kent’s debut feature “Testament of Youth” was one of the great recent love-in-wartime dramas, translating the intimate romance and sprawling human tragedy of Vera Brittain’s WWI memoir with a grace and heft worthy of its David Lean allusions. Four years on, it’s not hard [...]

  • Inside Amazon's New Feature Film Strategy

    Amazon's New Film Strategy: Straight-to-Service Titles and Starry Sundance Buys

    It was close to midnight when Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke got the text. The company had failed in its quest to acquire “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” a body image dramedy that captivated Salke when she saw it at Sundance. A sales agent on the project messaged her to say that a competitor offered a [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron71st Annual Writers Guild Awards,

    Alfonso Cuarón on Academy's 'Inevitable' Reversal on Televised Oscar Categories

    Alfonso Cuarón isn’t exactly surprised that the Academy reversed its decision and will now air all the Oscar categories during the live show on Sunday. Feb. 24. Calling the decision “inevitable,”Cuarón tells Variety that he thinks the Academy should take things even further. “Let’s stop calling them technical categories!” he told Variety on Sunday night [...]

  • TorinoFilmLab Announces Selections for 2019 ScriptLab

    TorinoFilmLab Announces Selections for 2019 ScriptLab (EXCLUSIVE)

    The TorinoFilmLab has announced the 20 feature projects and five story editor trainees who have been selected to take part in the 2019 edition of ScriptLab, an initiative focused on the development of fiction feature film scripts in early development stage. Beginning in March, this year’s participants will team up with filmmakers from around the [...]

  • Alita Battle Angel

    North American Box Office Declines From Last Year With Weak Presidents Day Weekend

    “Alita: Battle Angel” easily won a tepid Presidents Day weekend with a $34.2 million at 3,790 North American locations, estimates showed Monday. Overall domestic moviegoing for 2019 has plunged 22.1% to $1.24 billion as of Monday, according to Comscore. That’s $350 million below the same date a year ago and the lowest figure at this [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content