By Abid Rahman
Over and above breaking box office records, Transformers: Age of Extinction has captured the zeitgeist in China. The Michael Bay-directed action packed robot extravaganza that featured local Chinese stars and key scenes shot in Beijing and Hong Kong has proved such a huge pop cultural hit in China that some rural workers were inspired to give up farming to build huge Autobot and Decepticon replicas.
State-backed newspaper the China Daily reports that a group of 11 farmers in Xiaoye village in China’s eastern Shandong province have grouped together to build robots as tall as 52 feet from spare car parts. Several of the bots took over a month to make. While impressive in appearance, according to local reports, the structures aren’t actual “robots,” but stationary statues.
Farmer Wang Shizun is one of those involved in the construction of the DIY robots and revealed how seriously they take their craft. He told China Daily: “Once we have the structure, all the parts are welded and assembled by piece according to the blueprint.”
Wang and his fellow farmers have created 100 Transformers so far and it’s proved a lucrative business with each creation selling for about $16,000 (100,000 RMB). Many of the Transformer inspired creations have been sold to shopping malls and real estate companies to place outside their developments to drive traffic and garner interest with the Transformers obsessed Chinese public.
Transformers: Age of Extinction became the all-time highest grossing film in China last week. Now 17 days into its release, the action blockbuster has grossed $279.75 million at the Chinese box office, $50 million more than prior record holder Avatar and well above the film’s U.S. total of $209 million.
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Photo credit: Xinhua/Guo Xulei