Can you spot the Chinese tech firms in Pacific Rim Uprising?
When the original Pacific Rim came out in 2013, it marked a rare instance when a Hollywood movie did better in China than in the US. This time around, sequel Pacific Rim Uprising is aimed squarely at Chinese audiences, racking up more than $90 million in the country within just two weeks.
Theatergoers watching the sci-fi blockbuster will find plenty of Chinese elements, including actress Jing Tian -- who plays the head of a corporation bringing in giant robots called Jaegers -- as well as iconic landmarks like Shanghai’s Oriental Pearl Tower and Beijing’s CCTV headquarters.
On top of that, a number of China’s tech giants made product placement appearances throughout the movie -- with JD.com being the most prominent. Names, logos and slogans of the e-commerce company can be seen plastered over skyscrapers as Jaegers battle nearby.
Tencent also made a cameo. A massive holographic image of the internet giant’s penguin mascot was projected onto the roof of a building during one of the fight scenes.
The movie has signed promotional deals with a number of brands, including Xiaomi -- which teased its latest flagship smartphone Mi MIX 2S in a film-branded ad video.
Chinese companies seem to have graduated from the cringeworthy product placements in the early days that drew eyerolls from audiences. One of the most famous ones appeared in the 2016 film Independence Day: Resurgence. The movie featured Chinese dairy company Mengniu’s Moon Milk, reportedly making moviegoers laugh (but not in a good way).
There seems to be something about Chinese dairy companies’ eagerness to borrow from Hollywood star power. Shuhua milk, a product from Mengniu rival Yili, can be seen in at least two Transformers movies. One of the most memorable lines coming out of Dark of the Moon was, “May I finish my Shuhua milk?”