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NPR Arts & Life

'Transformers' Inspires Chinese Farmer-Artists

ARUN RATH, HOST:

And while we are celebrating zombies who shuffle from movies into comic book, what about the toy robots that became a cartoon that then became a movie series and now have inspired Chinese farmers to become master replica robot builders?

(SOUNDBITE OF "TRANSFORMERS" THEME SONG)

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: Transformers, more than meets the eye.

RATH: For those of you who don't know, Transformers are robots. There are good ones, the Autobots, and bad ones, the Decepticons. The robots can transform into cars and planes and look completely awesome as they battle for control of the earth. That's basically the plot of every Transformers movie. While the latest in the franchise, "Transformers: Age Of Extinction," has pulled in $280 million in China in just two weeks, making it the highest grossing film there, ever. So naturally, Chinese farm workers are now building giant models of the robots from spare car parts and selling them to wealthy property developers, who are putting them in malls and housing complexes. If you've got 16 grand to spare, you can have your very own replica of Optimist Prime or Bumblebee. So far, there have been no reports of Chinese attempts to replicate the human star of the film, Mark Wahlberg, but we'll keep you posted. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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