Transformers take Hong Kong

robot1All eyes were riveted on Hong Kong’s stunning TsimShaTsui waterfront, on Thursday, 19th June 2014 as Asia’s world city hosted the world premiere of the eagerly anticipated fourth installment of the sci-fi action thriller series, Transformers- the Age of Extinction.

The event, a first for Hong Kong, signaled that the leading financial hub had indeed arrived on the Hollywood stage. Crowds of excited fans thronged the viewing deck of the TsimShaTsui Cultural Centre to get a glimpse of Hollywood stars and lead actors of the film, Mark Wahlberg, Kelsey Grammer, Stanley Tucci and Nicola Peltz. Director Michael Bay was also on hand along with other stars such as Hong Kong actor Ray Lui and mainland actress Li Bing Bing both of who feature in the movie.

The movie released to a thunderous reception worldwide grossing US$301.3 million during its opening weekend. The film, which was partly shot in Hong Kong is running to packed houses here, and current estimates indicate its has already made more than HK37.8 million in Hong Kong, while on the mainland it earned US$90 million on debut, the highest opening of all time.

Why Hong Kong?

Transformers -The Age of Extinction is not the first Hollywood blockbuster to feature vibrant Hong Kong as a backdrop. The city has, in fact, served as the setting for several English and international films such as Pacific Rim, Johnny English Reborn, The Dark Knight and Hong Kong Confidential (Latvian), Awarapan(Bollywood-Hindi), Largo Winch and La Moustache (French), Aegan and King (Tamil) and so forth. 

Hong Kong is a world-renowned destination for culture, arts and entertainment.   The city is home to one of the largest and most dynamic film industries in the world so much so its native son; action star Jackie Chan is a household name around the globe. Further, the SAR is amongst the world’s largest film and television content exporters and nowadays, its locally produced films have been gaining much recognition from the international film fraternity. Well-known Hong Kong film folk, like actress DeanieIp and director Johnnie To, have also recently received accolades and awards at several international film events and festivals. 

Hollywood, in addition to buying rights for theatrical distribution, has also begun to look for inspiration to Hong Kong films, and it has begun to acquire buying rights to remake popular Hong Kong films.  For instance, multiple Oscar- winner (2007), and Martin Scorsese oeuvre ‘The Departed’ is a remake of the Hong Kong film Internal Affairs (2002).

All of the above, no doubt had a part to play in choosing Hong Kong as a setting for Transformers-the Age of Extinction. 

Director Michael Bay describes Hong Kong as a ‘visual city’ and the fourth edition of the Transformers series celebrates Hong Kong in all its glory. The movie’s production team shot all over the city for over ten days in October 2013, at locations not limited only to Hong Kong Island. Sites featured in the film include parts of Central (Lyndhurst terrace, Gage street, the Bank of China building), Tamar, Quarry Bay, along with grittier parts of the city like Sham Sui Po and To Kwa Wan in Kowloon. 

Special effects used in the film capture and enhance, the frenzied pace and dynamic energy of Hong Kong, as the Autobots and Dinobots engage in battle with their enemies, the Decepticons all over the city.  Spectacular scenes show Hong Kong’s iconic commuter Star Ferry flying through the air, while other dramatic scenes show Hong Kong’s grand, waterfront Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai getting pulverized.  High-speed chases around the city whizz past crowds, while some of the city’s ubiquitous red and white taxis get smashed as the fierce duels are played out. 

The film, in fact, is an excellent advertisement for the uniqueness of the landscape of Hong Kong, and it accurately showcases Hong Kong as a city of great contrasts. A thoroughly modern metropolis with gleaming skyscrapers but also a city whose soul resides in its bustling, crowded markets and many old-world neon-sign-littered streets dotted with innumerable stores and other small businesses. 

A city that time and again casts a spell on all who arrive at its shores, including Hollywood heavyweights like action star Jean-Claude Van Damme, who has been based in Hong Kong for approximately seven years and Nicolas Cage, who recently professed a desire to make Hong Kong his ‘second home.’ 

Are you planning a move to Hong Kong? Are you in the midst of relocating to this energetic hub of business and finance? Then let us, at Engel & Völkers take care of your housing requirements. Our knowledgeable, professional agents are always on hand to cater to your every need and preference.

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