Optimus Prime in Hong Kong


(Optimus Prime, from Transformers 4, on the red carpet at the Hong Kong premiere of Transformers 4: Age of Extinction)

This summer, Transformers 4 — directed by director-turned-mindless-Blockbuster-making-machine Michael Bay — was released to scathing reviews in the United States. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called it even more “dull, dumb and soul-sucking” than the first three, and refused to give it even one star. According to Time Magazine, however, Transformers 4 was “highest-grossing film in [China’s] history.” The Chinese government does not allow many American movies to be screened in Chinese cinemas, but Michael Bay managed to find a way around this by making a movie (according to Time) “set and filmed in China, starring Chinese actors, using Chinese resources and pushing Chinese products.” The result? Chinese audiences loved it, Michael Bay (probably) made an exorbitant amount of money, and we got a fascinating example of the power that Hollywood still has in cinema audiences worldwide.