Paramount Faces Lawsuit Claiming They Didn’t Have Enough Product Placement in ‘Transformers 4’
I barely remember anything about Transformers 4. I had to look at IMDb to remind myself what the subtitle was (it was Age of Extinction) and I’m pretty sure this was the one with the Dinobots? But the one thing that really sticks out in my head that I’ll never quite forget about this disasterpiece is the product placement. It was not just a few background appearances of products, it was a full-fledged onslaught; one of the major sequences of the film was Mark Wahlberg crashing a spaceship into a Bud Light truck, spilling hundreds of bottles of Bud Light onto the street and then Mark Wahlberg cracks open a tall, cool Bud Light and takes a delicious swig of that tasty Bud Light. BUD LIGHT. And somehow this film didn’t have enough product placement for one company who has filed suit against Paramount Pictures claiming they were robbed of their promotion.
Wulong Karst Tourism, a Chinese state-backed travel company, filed a $27 million lawsuit against Paramount claiming that the studio failed to “fulfill their obligations as part of a product placement deal” that would have inserted the company’s logo in Transformers 4. Parts of the film were shot in Wulong Karst National Park (Remember the part where Optimus Prime mounted a robot dinosaur? That was Wulong Karst National Park.) the tourism agency paid $750,000 to be prominently displayed so audiences around the world would be able to recognize the location. This did happen, something Paramount readily admits.
The studio’s defense is that director Michael Bay shot an a separate advertisement for Wulong Karst Tourism and left a bunch of “props” (read: garbage) behind that could be used as an attraction.
It’s unclear where the tourism agency is getting the $27 million number, but Transformers: Age of Extinction grossed $320 million in China (so that’s who’s going to see these movies!) and they may be looking for a percentage of the profits. It’s possible Paramount could decide to settle with the company to avoid a lengthy and costly court decision in the agency’s home state of China. Hey, there is always Transformers 5 coming up…