Paramount to Issue Longer, China-Only ‘Transformers’ Cut?

Chinese film fans, normally used to figuring out what has been cut out of foreign films, are wondering what extra has been put into the special Chinese version of The Last Knight.

Chinese censors have been busy of late, taking their scissors to multiple foreign films before allowing them to hit screens on the mainland.

So it comes as somewhat of a surprise to Chinese fans of Paramount Picture’s Transformers franchise to discover on Thursday that Transformers: The Last Knight, the fifth film in the series, appears to have an extra two minutes in its Chinese version.

An official distribution notice sent to Chinese exhibitors was released online Thursday showing a running time of 150 minutes for the film — two minutes more than the 148-minute version playing in the rest of the world. It’s unclear what the extra two minutes in the Chinese version includes.

Foreign films that have been cut for screening in the Chinese market include Logan, which shed 14 minutes; Dangal, which lost 21 minutes; and The Lost City of Z, whose local distributors decided to lop off a whole 37 minutes.

It’s not the first time a Hollywood movie has been tweaked to offer a different version for local audiences. In 2013, Marvel Studios edited a “Chinese” version of Iron Man 3 featuring actress Fan Bingbing, who played a young doctor that helps save Robert Downey Jr in a scene that was cut from the original version seen elsewhere. It was met with a mixed response in China.

Paramount is slated to release at least four more Transformers films after The Last Knight, one of which will be a standalone “Bumblebee” movie set for release in 2018. However, The Last Knight will be director Michael Bay’s last in the franchise and China is where his swan song debuts.

“It’s bittersweet because it’s the last one I’m doing. I’ve done five of them, there’s not a director I think that’s ever done five of a franchise,” Bay said at the Chinese premiere. “I’m the first director to do that. China has been very loyal to the franchise, that why we’re here first in the world to show it.”