China, the new MOVIE CAPITAL of the World? Monster movie studio mega-plex in China planned by tycoon
$8 billion studio will have world's largest sound stage, underwater facilities
The Chinese-speaking population of the world are among the world's most ardent moviegoers. Mainstream Hollywood productions have since began producing Chinese-language versions of their blockbusters for this vital, untapped audience. Now - China's richest man plans to build a monster-sized movie studio in the northeastern city of Qingdao. The studio, costing $8 billion plans to dwarf all comparable motion picture studios worldwide.
Tycoon Wang Jianlin announced in a glamorous red-carpet event this past weekend that the Dalian Wanda Group will build a state-of-the-art film studio in order to dominate China's growing movie market.
Such celebrities as Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, Catherine Zeta-Jones, John Travolta and Leonardo DiCaprio rubbed elbows with Chinese stars including Zhang Ziyi, Jet Li and Tony Leung at the event in Qingdao.
The Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis's 20 studios will include a permanent underwater studio and a 108,000 square-feet stage described by Wang as the world's biggest. The facility will also include an Imax research and development center, movie theaters and China's biggest film and celebrity wax museums.
The studio's first phase is planned to open in June 2016 and will be fully operational by June 2017. On top of everything else the studio will offer will be a yacht marina, eight hotels and a theme park will be built to attract tourists.
A preliminary deal with "a number of global film and television giants and talent agencies" to shoot about 30 foreign films a year has been inked, although the companies have not yet been named.
It's hoped that 50 Chinese production companies will make at least 100 domestic films and TV shows a year at the studios, where sets will simulate locations from Europe, the Middle East and China's Ming and Qing dynasties.
Dalian Wanda, which operates cinemas, hotels and department stores in China, last year bought the U.S. cinema chain AMC for $2.6 billion and snapped up British yacht maker Sunseeker in June this year.
The implications of the event have enormous implications for the showbiz world in general: Wang's success in attracting the A-list actors to his launch, held the same day as the Emmy television awards show in Los Angeles, also highlights how the center of gravity in the global film industry is shifting to the East.
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