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Paramount execs try to resolve Beijing premiere dispute, lawsuit

The latest movie in Paramount Studios’ “Transformers” franchise is expected to be the largest grossing film of the franchise. It comes on the heels of “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” raking in $172 million in China, one the fastest growing movie markets. Paramount expected to release the new film in China this weekend, but a sudden legal issue threatened to halt the opening.

According to an LA Times report, owners of the Pangu Plaza, a luxury hotel in Beijing, became upset over product placement deal with the movie studio that was not being adhered to. Essentially, one contract that was drafted in Chinese was allegedly not being followed because a similar contract, executed in English, was ostensibly controlling.

The dispute gained so much traction that a lawsuit was threatened, in addition to the hotel cutting off cooperation with the movie launch. Because of this, Paramount’s executives, several producers, and director Michael Bay made a special trip to Beijing from Shanghai to resolve the situation.

Essentially, a special press conference was held where Bay and others answered questions, signed autographs and posed with Bumblebee, one of the robots featured in the film.

The impromptu conference appears to have eased tensions so that the movie premiere will proceed as planned, but it remains to be seen whether the lawsuit will be dropped. After all, there were several components to the Chinese contract product deal that are yet to be fulfilled.

Nevertheless, the story is an example of how companies can resolve disputes by making efforts to meet in person to talk things over and clear up misunderstandings. Far too often, businesses embroiled in disputes will rely on e-mail or instant messaging which may leave much to be desired in the realm of customer service. 

Source: LA Times.com “Paramount rushes for Beijing ‘Transformers’ premiere amid dispute,” Julie Makinen, June 23, 2014

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