Every year, less than 50 foreign movies are allowed to be shown in theatres in China. Transcendence happens to be one movie that's allowed in China this year, but looking at its marketing materials, one might think that it's Johnny Depp shilling something other than a movie.
Last Friday, on April 18, the latest science fiction film starring Johnny Depp was released in China. As per the usual, when a foreign film is allowed to be shown in China, the studios pull out all the stops. Even more so when the movie's a Chinese co-production. What's odd is that for a movie like Transcendence, the marketing materials are so terrible!
Spotted in Beijing, the Transcendence posters spread across the cities' various billboards and bus stops are just plain odd! It's half a commercial for the film and half a commercial for cars. At first glance, it doesn't even look like the poster's for a movie. Instead it looks like an ad for automobiles with a weird pixelated Johnny Depp on one side.
The other half of the poster is an advert for the Zhonghua brand of Chinese auto maker Brilliance Auto. Sadly, since I haven't seen the movie, I can't tell if these cars were used in the movie's chase sequences. I'm pretty sure the movie has at least one chase sequence. Every movie has one.
This type of marketing material is very odd. Particularly odd considering that DMG, the Chinese co-production house, even had Johnny Depp fly over to Beijing to meet the press. When Iron Man 3 was released last year, there was a full on media blitz to highlight the Chinese involvement on the film. But with Transcendence, there was only this weird advertisement and Johnny Depp.
I've yet to watch the movie, but seeing these ads, it gives me the sneaky suspicion I'm going to be sitting in on a two hour movie about Chinese made cars. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.