Transformers Age of Extinction focuses filming on Hong Kong and Detroit
Michael Bay’s new action movie Transformers: Age of Extinction spotlights Hong Kong filming locations with an epic finale set against the backdrop of the city. The movie spent several weeks in Hong Kong and on the Chinese mainland, but also built a sprawling set in Detroit.
Iconic cities including Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town were considered as filming locations before the production team chose China. The shoot in Hong Kong took many months of preparation and was built around high-level negotiations with the Chinese government that were led by producer Ian Bryce, a veteran of the Transformers franchise.
“Hong Kong is an efficient place and a well-run city,” explains Ilt Jones, Supervising Location Manager and also a veteran of the Transformers franchise, as well as movies such as Inception and The Dark Knight Rises: “You don’t need a car in Hong Kong as it has the best infrastructure. We scouted all over the city and Michael Bay said ‘Show me what’s cool’. He liked the variety and the international scope.”
The production was able to stage major pyrotechnic sequences in Hong Kong, but nonetheless chose to film additional footage on a set built in central Detroit back in the US. Michigan offers a base filming incentive of 27% and in early 2013 made a deal with Paramount to pay a USD20 million incentive on projected local spending of some USD80 million.
We scouted all over the city and Michael Bay said ‘Show me what’s cool’. He liked the variety and the international scope.
Ilt Jones, Supervising Location Manager
Transformers’ China shoot represents one of Hollywood’s most determined efforts to navigate the country’s tight restrictions on international film releases. The US industry is likely to take note of Paramount’s experiences in the country, especially since China launched new filming incentives designed to boost the country's domestic industry that could also benefit official co-productions.
In the months since the Transformers shoot, the Chinese industry has also shown greater interest in Hollywood by announcing investment in upcoming productions Warcraft and Seventh Son.
(Images: Andrew Cooper/Paramount Pictures)
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