China’s Tencent Pictures Inks Paramount Deal; Invests In ‘Transformers’ Spin-Off ‘Bumblebee’ & ‘Top Gun’ Sequel

China’s Tencent is teaming with Paramount on Transformers spinoff Bumblebee, and next year’s Top Gun sequel.

Tencent Pictures is acting as an investor and co-marketing partner on the two films with the Transformers origin story set for release on December 21 in the U.S. and January 4 in the Middle Kingdom.

It is the latest Hollywood investments from the Chinese firm, which has previously collaborated on Warcraft, Kong: Skull Island, Wonder Woman, La La Land, Ready Player One and Venom. The latter has scored an extended run in China after grossing $263.6M locally.

The Transformers origin story will look to tap into China’s Transformers faithful: The past two films in that Michael Bay franchise, The Last Knight and Age Of Extinction made $229M and $320M, respectively. Starring Hailee Steinfeld (Pitch Perfect 3) John Cena (Trainwreck) and Jorge Lendeborg Jr. (Spiderman: Homecoming), Bumblebee is directed by Travis Knight, with Lorenzo di Bonaventura Tom DeSanto & Don Murphy, Michael Bay and Mark Vahradian producing and Steven Spielberg, Brian Goldner and Chris Brigham executive producing.

Meanwhile, the Top Gun sequel is hitting theaters in the summer of 2020.

“We are thrilled to partner with Tencent Pictures to bring the Bumblebee origin story to China, where the Transformers franchise has been tremendously popular. 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. We really look forward to presenting this heart-warming movie with Tencent, and to partnering with them on the next Top Gun film, particularly given the enthusiasm for the original film in China,” said Jim Gianopulos, Chairman and CEO, Paramount Pictures

Cheng Wu (Edward Cheng), Vice President of Tencent and CEO of Tencent Pictures, added, “Global Exploration is one the six major cultural series of Tencent Pictures. With a focused, vertical market strategy, we hope to connect with top-notch partners all over the world and tell good stories through films. It is for the same reason that we choose Bumblebee. Apart from investment, Tencent Pictures will also serve as a joint marketing partner to boost its marketing campaign and promotional activities. We will leverage the strengths of our different divisions, mobilize resources across our integrated platforms, and join forces with Paramount to help Bumblebee win over a global audience.”

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