Age of Extinction in dispute with Chinese tourism destination Wulong
Transformers 4: Age of Extinction smashed the 1.38 billion yuan (approx. US$226 million) record set in 2010 by Avatar and has already racked up more than 1.4 billion yuan (approx.
Transformers 4: Age of Extinction smashed the 1.38 billion yuan (approx. US$226 million) record set in 2010 by Avatar and has already racked up more than 1.4 billion yuan (approx. US$230 million) from box offices across China just 11 days after release. Despite the high revenue intake and the recent settlement with Beijing Pangu, Transformers 4: Age of Extinction has become involved in a dispute with the town of Wulong, China, the tourism locale where a key segment of the filming took place.
Background of Wulong’s dispute with Transformers 4: Age of Extinction
The producers of Transformers 4: Age of Extinction visited Wulong, a scenic area within the metropolis of Chongqing, in late 2013 and reached an agreement with Chongqing Wulong Karst Tourism (Group) Co. Ltd. (“Chongqing Wulong Karst Tourism”), the operator of the scenic area whereby the area would be closed for seven days to allow for production of the film and the operator would pay a significant sum of money to enable Tiankeng, one of the features of Wulong, to be prominently displayed in the film. Makers of the film would arrange for shooting of some important scenes of the film at the stunning Tiankeng locale and make clear mention of “China Wulong” in the film as part of the operator’s goal of increasing the visibility of the scenic area and making it known worldwide as a recognized tourist destination.
Transformers 4: Age of Extinction made its debut in China on June 27, 2014 as scheduled. Box office receipts poured in, grossing 1.4 billion yuan within 11 days. On the positive side, the stunning landscape of Tiankeng was excellently captured, and the scene shot at the locale was considered by many viewers and film critics as one of the biggest highlights of the film. However, the logo of “Wulong-China” was not presented once during the course of the film, leading many viewers who saw the film to mistakenly believe that the Tiankeng locale is actually in Hong Kong. This, in turn, resulted in the huge investment by Chongqing Wulong Karst Tourism to not generate the expected return. “The absence of the logo means all our efforts are in vain, as Tiansheng Sanqiao (the natural three bridges that are a highlight of Wulong) is not as well-known as the Great Wall,” said Huang Daosheng, general manager of Chongqing Wulong Karst Tourism (Group) Co. Ltd.
As a result of the absence of the logo in the film, Chongqing Wulong Karst Tourism has entered into negotiations with the Chinese production company associated with the film, Beijing-based 1905 Internet Technology Co., Ltd., on July 2. Both sides, however, are in disagreement as to the particulars of the case. 1905 Internet Technology claims that the failure of the placement was due to a delay in the payment by Chongqing Wulong Karst Tourism , while Chongqing Wulong Karst Tourism insists that it had paid on time as outlined in the agreement.
Six days of negotiations have not resulted in a solution, with the result that Chongqing Wulong Karst Tourism no longer choosing to remain silent on the issue. On July 7, Chongqing Wulong Karst Tourism held a press conference in Beijing, at which Huang provided details of the cooperation between the scenic area and Transformers 4: Age of Extinction, and presented to the media contractual and email evidence, which demonstrated that the logo of “Wulong-China” should have been displayed in the film as stipulated in the contract.
About Wulong Scenic Area
Tiankeng, also known as “The Three Natural Bridges,” is the largest group of natural bridges in the world. The site is a national 5A scenic spot, a Natural World Heritage site and a national geological park. The most attractive elements of the scenic area are the three grand and magnificent natural stone bridges with an average height of over 300 meters and a bridge span of over 500 meters. Nowhere in the world can one find such large natural stone bridges within the space of one kilometer. The area is also home to a series of soaring cliffs, a cliff-side spring, an abundance of running water, the twitter of many types of birds and the fragrance of a multitude of wondrous varieties of flowers. The mountains, water, spring, gorges and bridges constitute a picture-perfect landscape. The site arouses the reverence for nature in every visitor who has a chance to experience it.
The scenic spot became famous when world-renowned movie director Zhang Yimou chose the locale as the only outdoor shooting location for his film Curse Of the Golden Flower in 2007. Michael Bay also expressed a special preference for Tiankeng due to its unique beauty and splendor. Audiences who have seen Transformers 4: Age of Extinction are in full agreement when asked about Tiankeng’s magnificence and many online visitors have expressed their desire to go there. However, failure to show the logo of the scenic area during the course of the movie has caused confusion among audience members as well as has a negative financial impact on the scenic area’s tourism industry.
Besides the Three Natural Bridges, other scenic spots include Fairy Maiden Mountain National Forest Park, as well as China’s most charming subterranean tourist attraction — Furong (Hibiscus) Cave, the geologic wonder of Longshui Gorge Gap and the overwater karst primitive forest Furong River. Wulong’s tourism industry has been prospering in recent years. As the catchphrase “Chongqing, have to go”, the trademark phrase for the city where Wulong is located, is becoming universally known, Wulong is also making itself known to the world