The studio behind 'Transformers 4' is reportedly hoping to set the film in China, to make sure it can exploit its lucrative movie market.
According to film site Vulture, it's 'likely' that Paramount and director Michael Bay will be heading east to make the Mark Wahlberg-fronted sequel.
[Related story: Bay reveals early plot details of Transformers 4]
[Related story: Wahlberg to star in Transformers 4]
An insider on the production said that 'by getting Chinese culture into it, there’s a better chance of getting it into China, and less chance of getting frozen out'.
China's box office figures continue to rise, making it the second biggest market in the world, while the US market continues to falter, with returns diminishing year after year.
Meanwhile, the Hollywood Reporter has said that the film's location crew has also been scouting in Thailand for the film, which would support the likelihood of an Asian-set project.
The source continued: "It’s not Oliver Stone making this movie. [Bay] is not going to make some political statement about [Chinese government] atrocities or oppression. He’s going to be more interested in showing how robots blow up some corner of the Great Wall of China.”
The 'Transformers' franchise has made little secret of its desire for big box office returns from the project in the past.
Over the summer it was announced that the fourth film in the series would feature an all-new cast of characters and, more crucially for merchandising, all-new robots.
If Bay does head to China for the production, he'll join a vanguard of big Hollywood directors doing so, including James Cameron, who is launching joint ventures there and planning to involve Chinese actors in his next 'Avatar' films.
“[The industry] has got to get over the chauvinism of thinking through from a US perspective,” Cameron told 3D Focus in September. “If you want to make movies for the US, fine. If you want to make movies for the global market, think global.”
Elsewhere, director Michael Bay is said to be in the middle of shortlisting new young actors for prominent roles in the film, while he recently confirmed that Mark Wahlberg will star, after being swayed towards him by internet rumours.
The film is due in summer, 2014.