The Hollywood Reporter broke a Jan. 25 story which said that Michael Bay will produce an anti-Trump movie that also portrays China in a positive light. This is interesting news because it provides a perfect opportunity to look at Bay’s relationship with China and, more importantly, the growing Chinese involvement in Hollywood.
THR reported that, “Universal has won a heated bidding war to pick up the rights to Little America, a futuristic adventure movie that has Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes on board to produce.”
The movie “is set in a dystopian future where a Donald Trump-like president has bankrupted America and China has called in its debts.” It then adds that “[t]he Asian giant now owns America and many Americans have immigrated to China looking for work.” The plot of the movie supposedly involves a Chinese billionaire hiring “a former American Force Recon member” “to go into an American ghetto and rescue his daughter.”
I don’t know if the article accurately describes the script. I also don’t know what Bay and Universal ultimately plan to do with said script. But when you look at how China is connected to both Bay and Hollywood, this story (as reported) becomes quite interesting.
Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes produced the 2016 movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. And as THR noted, Dalian Wanda Group and Alibaba Group (both massive Chinese corporate entities) co-financed that film.
That information alone is noteworthy. But Bay’s Chinese connections do not end here.
Wired published an article on Aug. 26, 2015 that focused on Bay’s 451 Media Group. Specifically, the article discussed how the company had started “an interactive publishing division.” The article also mentioned that, “China’s Guangdong Alpha Animation is also an investor in” 451 Media Group.
And then there is, Transformers: Age of Extinction, the fourth movie in Bay’s Transformers franchise.
Much has been written about Transformers: Age of Extinction and its Chinese connections. Chinese companies had product placement deals with the movie. Chinese companies co-produced it. And Bay and the rest of those involved in the production of Transformers: AOEindulged China so they could maximize their profits.
So Bay has a significant amount of connections with China. Yet that isn’t unusual for someone in the entertainment industry. And this is the most important part of the story. Hollywood in general is aggressively pursuing the Chinese market. Meanwhile, China wants to control Hollywood and its power so it can influence people. And it’s succeeding in the pursuit of that goal.
I explained the significance of this in July of 2016: “China is gaining more power in Hollywood, and as it does it is using that power to conduct influence and information operations. This is a growing national security threat that Americans should take seriously.”
Ultimately, we’ll have to wait and see what Universal and Michael Bay do with Little America. Perhaps the movie won’t even make it to the silver screen. Or if it does, maybe it will be nothing like The Hollywood Reporter currently describes it.
Nevertheless, the announcement of the movie deal is a reminder of how the growing Chinese involvement in Hollywood is an issue that deserves more attention.