How can Tony Stark best battle his Chinese (half-Chinese, actually -- his mother was British) nemesis, the Mandarin? With Chinese technology, of course!
The billionaire industrial genius playboy played by Robert Downey Jr. in the Disney-Marvel line of superhero films is getting an arsenal of new gizmos for his next adventure as Chinese electronics company TCL will receive featured product placement in this summer's "Iron Man 3."
The deal will see Tony Stark conspicuously using TCL's televisions, cloud technology and mobile phones amongst the many, many electronics he uses to fight crime, invent cool stuff and exchange witty-flirty quips with his assistant and ladylove, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). There's no word yet on whether it will also involve some sort of bilingual upgrade for Stark's ever-trusty, ever-droll A.I. program, J.A.R.V.I.S. (Just A Rather Very Intelligent System, voiced by Paul Bettany).
The product placement arrangement comes as part of the Huizhou-based company's drive to compete with such industry leaders as Apple and Samsung (whose products have been featured in previous "Iron Man" installments).
"I believe our new generation of products are as good as those from Samsung and Apple," said TCL chairman and co-founder Tomson Li in an interview with Bloomberg News at CES last week. "This 'Iron Man' cooperation is very useful for us to promote the TCL brand in the global market, including the U.S. and China."
Global, sure, but TCL seems especially interested in America right now -- or, more particularly, in Hollywood. News of the "Iron Man" deal comes hot on the heels of the company paying $5 million for the naming rights of the historic Grauman's Chinese Theater, which will be rechristened the "TCL Chinese Theater."
"TCL has attached great importance to the collaboration with Hollywood," said Zhao Zhongyao, CEO of TCL Multimedia, in an official statement. Yeah, no kidding!
Anyway, it makes for a new Spot the Product Placement game to go with the usual Spot the Stan Lee. It will be interesting to see whether Stark is able to foil a particularly villainous plot via his TCL toys or if they'll lead to some of that dark downfall stuff that's featured in the teaser trailer. Probably the former, don't you think?
"Iron Man 3" will kick off the Summer 2013 movie season on May 3.