Star Media Group unit secures global rights to exhibit iconic franchise
PETALING JAYA: Transformers, the household entertainment name that has raked in billion$ with its box-office hits and enchanted millions, is coming closer to home.
Star Media Group Bhd’s Singapore-listed subsidiary Cityneon Holdings Ltd has secured the rights to bring the Transformers experience to the global platform through its state-of-art exhibitions that will bring fans of the iconic franchise up close and personal with the beloved characters like never before.
In a deal signed with US-based Hasbro Inc and Hasbro International Inc, Cityneon has secured the exclusive global rights to display the highly-popular Transformers characters using revolutionary technologies such as 3D, robotics and multimedia with intricate sets and performances in all markets outside Japan and the city Indianapolis, Indiana.
According to an announcement yesterday by a subsidiary of Cityneon, which is a leading infrastructure provider of exhibitions in the region, the rights to the Transformers franchise will last until June 30, 2023.
The agreement was signed between Cityneon unit Dayspring Entertainment Pte Ltd and Hasbro Inc and Hasbro International Inc.
Under the agreement, Cityneon has the exclusive rights to use the Transformers brand for the development, staging, production, promotion and advertisement of the exhibits. The company can also develop and manufacture merchandise based on the exhibits and the right to advertise and sell such merchandise at the identified venues.
Cityneon executive director Ron Tan described the signing as significant as it would allow the company to hold the state-of-the-art exhibitions of the popular entertainment franchise.
“We are honoured to be able to partner Hasbro for the global rights to launch the Transformers experience in different parts of the world. We have witnessed how both Transformers movies 3 and 4 grossed more than US$1bil (RM4.4bil) in its ticket sales globally as well as the reception towards the Transformers franchise by all age groups and in all corners of the world.
Tan, who is also president and chief executive officer of Cityneon’s subsidiary Victory Hill Exhibitions Pte Ltd (VHE), added that the company was keen to bring the exhibition as the market potential is big.
“As we speak, we are already seeing unsolicited interests in China to want to partner with VHE and bring the experiences in the country.”
Cityneon said the Transformers exhibition would be “a revolutionary new walk-through exhibit that immerses audiences in the world of the Autobots and their ongoing battle to protect Earth against the evil Decepticons.”
“Through the use of leading 3D stereoscopic technologies, advanced robotics, dynamic multimedia and projection mapping, intricate sets and engaging performances, audiences will be taken on a journey that will enable them to witness the sheer spectacle of these life-size sentient, living robotic beings.”
According to The Guardian, a modestly successful Transformers film was released in 1986, but the franchise was kicked into high gear with the 2007 blockbuster, directed by Michael Bay, which took more than US$770mil worldwide.
Bay then directed three further Transformers films, the most successful globally being 2011’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon (US$1.12bil), closely followed by Transformers: Age of Extinction (US$1.1bil).
The brand’s Hollywood appeal only looks to be getting started, as Hasbro has planned four more Transformers movies.
The rights to provide exhibition services for Transformers follow Cityneon’s takeover of Marvel’s Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. (Scientific Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network) earlier this year.
On Sept 30, Cityneon, completed a S$21mil (RM59mil) deal with Philadelphia Investments Ltd to acquire the entire share capital of VHE, which holds the rights to operate, market and promote the Marvel exhibits for display in museums and science centres or other similar venues.
Iconic Marvel characters include the Hulk, Thor, Iron Man and Captain America, which were popularised by the movie The Avengers.
The Avengers was a huge success, earning more than US$1.5bil (RM5.6bil) globally, 19% of which came from Asian markets, according to reports.
China, South Korea and Japan represented 12% of those earnings.
On the reason for the acquisition of Victory Hill, Cityneon said earlier this year that it had “always been hunting for interesting and complementary plays to add to its business mix”.
“Other than increasing our global footprint and diversifying our revenue streams, the board is convinced that the acquisition of Victory Hill will bring us to a new level of providing exhibition services and add significant value to our global offering,” chairman Lew Weng Ho had said in a statement in April.