Transformers: Age of extinction took the Chinese cinemas by storm and quickly became the highest grossing movie there. Such was the public interest in these alien humanoid robots that it has inspired a growing robot model manufacturing industry across the country. Plus, unlike the gigantic manufacturing setups in China, these models are being made locally in backyards of houses. This cottage industry has become very profitable as the robots are made from scrap metal and used car parts and afterwards, they are sold at big margins to local businesses.
One of these successful robot modelers is Yu Zhilin who works with his son Yu Lingyun from Hunan province and are both farmers by profession. They started making these life-sized replicas when Zhilin realized the potential for their sale after the movie became a cult symbol all over China. Now, they are able to earn up to 1 million Yuan (nearly 170,000$) a year through this new venture.
It all started with Zhilin’s interest in fine arts and his audacity to look for a new opportunity in the aftermath of the Transformers movie. He was fascinated by these wonderful designs created for Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, Megatron and various other characters not just from the latest movie but the previous ones as well. He expressed his interest in them by downloading a few images of the bots from the internet and with his son’s help, he was able to create some pretty phenomenal models like these. Amazing talent, huh?
They are by no means the only one benefiting from manufacturing of robot replicas. Wang Shizun is another robot modeler from Shandong province who creates a wider variety of robots for a bigger range of customers rather than just life-size ones. He also uses spare parts and other junk to make them. His biggest robot costs around 16,000$ and it is bought by property developers who display them at their sites.
The success of the movie is also related to the Pro-China stance adopted in screenplay as Chinese brands are everywhere, the Chinese government is shown to be benevolent and even a CIA agent gets beaten up by a local guy. So, by swallowing this bitter pill, the movie managed to gain access to the largely untapped Chinese cinema.