Over the years, Michael Bay has earned a reputation for making big-budget, action-packed movies that often sacrifice quality for high ticket sales. He’s arguably most famous for directing the “Transformers” films, yet he’s recently been set to produce a new film, “Little America”. It takes place in a time of social upheaval in the near future, when America’s debts are called in by China and many Americans are emigrating to China due to its thriving economy. With this backdrop, a Chinese billionaire hires a former military man to rescue his daughter from an American slum city.
When the announcement for this film was made, many saw it as a jab at the current President; the Guardian called it a “Trump-esque dystopia”, while MSN said called it a “movie about Trump bankrupting the country”. However, the description of the plot and the film’s prospects don’t once mention Trump or even allude to the current President, but it’s hardly surprising that the left-leaning media has interpreted it as such.
At this moment, when the most we know about the film is a press release, it’s hard to say if this is meant to be a political statement about America, and in this age it’s hard to bring up “America” without sounding political. Of course, I doubt it’s entirely coincidental that this film is coming out around now, as the future of this country is on everybody’s mind. Even though the press release doesn’t say anything about Trump, it wouldn’t be hard to interpret the film as commentary, especially when you think of the many liberals in Hollywood who have been vocal of their disapproval of the current President.
I can’t imagine that the current political situation won’t be alluded to in the film, but maybe not in the way that we think. In a recent post, the blog RedState argued it’s no coincidence that “Little America” portrays China as the world superpower. In the past few years, Hollywood has been steadily focusing on the Chinese box office. Big-budget action films like Warcraft, while earning little recognition in the US beyond bad Rotten Tomatoes reviews, have made huge profits in China. The film “Great Wall”, even though it has yet to be released in the US, has already made a substantial profit after being released in China this past December. It’s been predicted that soon the Chinese box office totals could exceed those in the US.
However, the Chinese film industry is hardly an open market for Hollywood, with the Chinese government only permitting a handful of American-produced titles in their theaters. Yet China represents a lucrative opportunity for those movies that can get released there; it’s a country with over 1 billion people, which represents a huge amount of ticket sales. And with such few films to choose from, these 1 billion consumers are that much more likely to go watch these movies. The American films that have been making the most money in China, such as Warcraft and the new “xXx”, are the exact kind of films that Michael Bay is good at making: big-budget, action-packed and filled with special effects. And as far as the press release goes, “Little America” doesn’t seem to portray China in a negative light, making RedState’s argument that the film is meant to appeal to a Chinese audience rather than bash Trump that much more valid.