Increasingly, international markets play a huge role in the financial success or failure of big Hollywood movies. For example, Pacific Rim bombed in US theaters, but thanks to the global revenue, it made enough money that there still could be a sequel. Studios are increasingly marketing specifically for these regions, and Transformers: Age of Extinction, the fourth film in Michael Bay’s giant robot adventure franchise, has released a new trailer and poster for China, as well as a new domestic IMAX one sheet. Considering that the last film, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, made two-thirds of its gross (which was more than $1 billion) overseas, this seems like the smart move.
This trailer is crammed full of shiny new footage that fans haven’t had the chance to gawk at yet. There’s a bit that talks about the unknown, unstable metal that the Transformers are made from. As fresh information, this is about as far as this video takes it, but there are good looks at characters, both human and robot. It also looks like, after being revived and given a sweet new pain job by Mark Wahlberg’s Cade, Optimus Prime goes something that looks suspiciously like a soul-searching journey where he takes a long drive into the desert. Even a giant shape-shifting robot can get sad and have an existential crisis.
And then there’s that shot of Prime, astride the Dinobot Grimlock, riding into battle, shouting “Charge!” That image alone should be enough to bring a smile to your face, and make you wonder just how over the top Age of Extinction is going to be. Which is saying something for a franchise built on being completely ridiculous.
Prime riding a fire-breathing robot dinosaur into battle does its best to call to mind the images of a knight charging into the fray of combat. This international poster builds on that. Kneeling, clutching his sword like a cross, he looks like he’s praying, like he’s an old timey adventurer engaged in an epic religious quest and this is moment when he dig down and find that last bit of heart that he didn’t know he had in order to carry on.
While that Chinese poster is pretty damn epic, this domestic IMAX offering looks like little more than an advertisement for toys. Granted, we are talking about a movie franchise based on popular toy line, and Hasbro did flex their muscle and insist that Age of Extinction—the first film in a new trilogy—include new characters so they can sell more action figures.