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GM gets starring role in Transformers

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GM cars play action heroes in 'Transformers'
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Ann Job | Link to Original Article @ DetNews


HOLLYWOOD, Calif . -- The folks at General Motors Corp. are walking around a little starry-eyed these days, with an extra spring in their step and Hasbro toys in their hands.

In a product placement coup, four GM vehicles, including a new generation Chevrolet Camaro due out in 2009, won starring roles in the heavily hyped new action flick, "Transformers."

While automakers regularly wheel and deal to place their cars in films, GM's vehicles are cast as shape-shifting action stars in the expected summer blockbuster directed by Michael Bay.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for General Motors to get its product in front of millions of people," said Tim Calkins, clinical professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. "It keeps (GM) current; it builds awareness."

While vehicles starring in a movie won't necessarily "drive people into showrooms like a rebate program will drive them into showrooms, it will reach people in a very different setting," he said.

The other GM stars in "Transformer" are the Pontiac Solstice, a Hummer H2 and GMC TopKick pickup truck.

"We're the heroes, all four of our vehicles are good guys," said Dino Bernacchi, who oversees GM's movie deals. "They all are cool cars that fit the personalities of the characters."

GM officials will be on hand for today's Hollywood premiere of the DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures production. The movie opens Tuesday.

If you're not up on Transformers lore, it was a popular toy line and TV cartoon in the 1980s and has a cult following worldwide. Good autobots battle evil Decepticon robots, with cars and trucks transforming from vehicles into giant robots.

More than meets the eye


GM officials didn't have to search out this film opportunity. Hollywood came to them, even before the automaker's executives had decided to show a Camaro concept coupe at the auto show in Detroit in 2006, and later to put the new Camaro into production.

"This is the ruby of rubies for a car company," said Michael Bay, "Transformers" director. Bay previously worked with GM on "Bad Boys II" and "Armageddon."

Still, GM wasn't a shoo-in for the prime vehicle roles. In fact, Bay initially was considering another carmaker for at least one character. The original Bumblebee autobot was a yellow Volkswagen Beetle. But the yellow Camaro concept became the inspiration for the movie Bumblebee after Bay saw a picture of the concept car and later a full-scale model.

It's a perfect fit because "it's a muscle car and still state of the art," he said. "The biggest problem was that the car wasn't being made."

This didn't stop Steve Tihanyi, who was then overseeing GM's movie deals, and the automaker's design staff from using whatever they could to create the Camaro and fiberglass shells in time for filming in 2006. Tihanyi is a Cadillac regional/divisional marketing manager.

Pontiac's Solstice won the role of Jazz, which was played by a Porsche in the cartoon. The Solstice also had to be created because GM was only selling it as a convertible as filming began. Bay wanted Jazz to be a gray, hardtop Solstice.

Search-and-rescue vehicle Ratchet is played by a Hummer H2 that's painted a fluorescent light green and modified with a winch and brush guard in front, shovels on its sides and off-road lights. And rugged off-roader Ironhide is played by a GMC TopKick pickup truck with a Duramax diesel engine.

Ford Motor Co. also has a presence in "Transformers." A Saleen Mustang police car, complete with light bar on the roof and a push bar, is a Decepticon.

Endless possibilities


The film is poised to attract a wide audience, which means the exposure for GM's vehicles, especially the Camaro, could be huge.

"The fact is, we're showcasing really exciting products, like the Hummer, like the Solstice and the Camaro, and they can be cool and hip for a new generation worldwide," Tihanyi said.

GM won't release details of its studio financial arrangement.

The film's debut is just the start of marketing opportunities. "Transformers" is expected to be out on DVD before Christmas, and Hasbro already has crafted toys of the film characters.

"You're talking about a film that should bring in $700 million to $1 billion across the globe. You don't always get these big, blockbuster opportunities," Tihanyi said.

It may be only the beginning for GM's "Transformer" stardom. The movie's ending leaves plenty of room for a sequel.
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soo.. is the hardtop solstice ever supposed to make production??

and if so...

is GM planning a next generation solstice or is it just gonna hang like the mazda... for like 15 years?

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soo.. is the hardtop solstice ever supposed to make production??

and if so...

is GM planning a next generation solstice or is it just gonna hang like the mazda... for like 15 years?

I would assume so...and the Miata/MX-5 has been through 3 generations over 17 years...

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soo.. is the hardtop solstice ever supposed to make production??

and if so...

is GM planning a next generation solstice or is it just gonna hang like the mazda... for like 15 years?

I think the new Solstice and Sky will be based on the modified Alpha platform. Isn't the MCE for the Kappa due in 2009?

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Not sure what you have to do but the hard top is available to the SCCA guys in the track option you can buy.

probably dealer option like the porsche

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Not sure what you have to do but the hard top is available to the SCCA guys in the track option you can buy.

If I recall the car option is from the factory. It was a Non turbo Solstice with a GXP suspension. The roof amy be added at the dealer? but it was needed for compitition. They did have Hoosier compitition tires as a SPO option.

I assume it is one of those things that is available if you know the dealer who knows how to order it.

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Not sure what you have to do but the hard top is available to the SCCA guys in the track option you can buy.

If I recall the car option is from the factory. It was a Non turbo Solstice with a GXP suspension. The roof amy be added at the dealer? but it was needed for compitition. They did have Hoosier compitition tires as a SPO option.

I assume it is one of those things that is available if you know the dealer who knows how to order it.

I am taking the kid Tuesday to see the movie. I will post about it later.

The locall paper gave it a glowing review. Not a Oscar winner but just good entertainment.

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I saw it last night. Awesome movie, I wouldn't say Oscar winning myself, but it was a good ride. Being a fan of the orignal series, it was great to see the characters in live action, although I think I would have gone with a slightly different voice character for Bumblebee, he sounded a little too British, but it was still pretty cool. Especially to hear Peter Cullen doing the voice of Optimus Prime. Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith from The Matrix) does a VERY good job as Megatron, although it would have been more fun to have heard Frank Welker doing the voice, but he is doing the video game. The other voice actors were great, they really brought out the feelings of the characters. All I have to say about the movie is, go see it, you'll enjoy it, I promise.

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Saw it last night and it blew me away. I had mediocre expectations but it had amazing aztion sequences and special effects, great commeday and pretty damn good acting for a pg13 summer action flick.

The plot was also decent. I knew that they were going to have to change it from that of the original somewhat to fit movie format but it actually managed to keep a good number of ellements of the original at the same time.

One last thing... There is no way I am going to get anything but a camaro now, that thing is just too bad ass. Screw the g8, cts, whatever. I'm going to save my pennies and get me a pony car.

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The movie rocked, I really enjoyed it.

It was nice to see the new Camaro in action and get a sense of what it looks like driving around in the real world. There is a scene towards the end where a parked GTO gets destroyed that brought a tear to my eye LOL. Oh and Megan Fox, well...

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There is a scene towards the end where a parked GTO gets destroyed that brought a tear to my eye LOL.

Oh mine too, sniff, sniff, tear, tear! :smilewide: Oh by the way Stag, welcome to C&G.

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I saw it last night too. Big fan of the '84-'86 line, was 9 in 1984... HUGE theater, dang near full. The audience reacted very well to the humor, the action, the surprises, etc. It was an absolutely amazing flick, though a few times a bit cheesy. I had to remind myself this is based on a 25 year old line of TOYS! Several subtle visual references too, i.e. '71 Camaro Bumblebee sitting next to a yellow '71 VW Bug on the carlot and he hits it with his doors :)

I agree that Bumblebee's voice was a little cheesy, but Prime and Megatron's were AWESOME. I think Hugo actually sounded a bit like the original but more sinister. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get "Agent Smith" out of my head when he spoke, but you couldn't tell.

The audience applauded and cheered at the end...don't see that too much. VERY open to a sequel. I read somewhere a while back that Shia LeBouf (sp?) mentioned that he was signed on for 2 more...

Oh, and the Camaro as well as the (gasp!) Mustang were just awesome! I got the chills when they had their first little chase/fight. :thumbsup:

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Got my tickets, going to see it tonight :D

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Just got in and killer movie.

This movie is Men in Black, Armageddon, Independents day and Die Hard all in one movie.

If you want a fast paced action movie that will not let you think about how long you have been sitting this is the movie.

As for GM marketing this is a Grand Slam. I had seen post of people saying the crowd getting excited when the 2009 Camaro appears, Well I am here to say the theater erupted when bumble bee upgraded to the new body.

The only negitive I saw was the skidding Cadillacs, the movie will not sell many on their stability control and the roofs getting ripped off so easily on the Yukon's. The new GMC is one tough truck but is no match for evil space robots in ther LA area.

It is all set at the end for the second movie to pick up where this left off. The question is when will it be out and what cars will GM want to promote by then?

If your going to see any movie this week see this one!

I give it my LS7 rating for Fast, Very Powerful and moving! :thumbsup:

Edited by hyperv6
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Saw it. Awesomeness!

Acting was not the best from the human cast, and the action sequences were a bit too fast paced sometimes, but overall, it was sooo worth seeing!

The switchover of Bumblebee to the new Camaro was a bit...unconvincing, but whatever.

There is a scene towards the end where a parked GTO gets destroyed that brought a tear to my eye LOL

Actually, two get trashed, and an SSR. :(

A Corolla and Civic also bite it hard if you look closely! ^_^

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The switchover of Bumblebee to the new Camaro was a bit...unconvincing, but whatever.

Yeah, a camaro concept Just Happend to be driving down the street...... :AH-HA_wink:

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I just saw Transformers... Twice. :ohyeah: It's good to see GM being cast as the good guy by the media for once.

It was very good, with my only complaints being some cheesy dialogue from Optimus Prime and occasional overacting on the part of Mr. LaBeauf.

:lol:

Let me tell you, when Bumblebee was reborn as the 2008 Chevrolet Camaro, the crowd started howling and there was loud applause - both times. :yes: And this was a normally staid upper middle class suburban Ohio crowd. ^_^

Oh yes, I think GM has won a global legion of new fans. :thumbsup:

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My new favorite movie. It was very well written and surprisingly faithful to the Transformers franchise. Little touches like Prime's face armor that he uses in battle, classic transforming sounds, the tension between StarScream and Megatron, and Megatron and Optimus' rivalry were well captured.

Yes, the crowd cheered when BumbleBee became the new Camaro...GM has a sure-fire hit on it's hands if the production looks just like it. It was a a bit of a weak excuse for a transformation from old to new Camaro, but it was for the best :P

Megatron was much more sinister than in other Transformers installments...usually he had an evil sense of humor...not this time...he was just scary. They also used different voice actors for Megatron and Optimus Prime than the norm, but the choice of voice actors was very good nonetheless (Optimus was voiced by the guy who does Toonami announcements).

I spotted a Charger SRT-8..although I don't think it got trashed.

The Saleen Mustang made a pretty badass Barricade.

There's some interesting twists that leave it open to a sequel...but i won't say so as not to spoil it for those who haven't seen it yet...I'm so seeing i again! ^_^

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