Wanda opens doors to Chinese film metropolis, although the idea turns its focus back home

Wang Jianlin, the billionaire boss of China’s Dalian Wanda Group, said on Saturday he will turn the northern port city of Qingdao into a global film production hub as he launched a sprawling studio complex in a ceremony attended by hundreds.

Covering an area equivalent to more than 0 soccer pitches, the 400-acre Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis boasts the entire world’s biggest movie studio along with also also has been touted as China’s answer to Hollywood.

The $8 billion project, built partly on an artificial island, also includes hotels, a theme park along with also also a yacht club.

Wang, whose group controls U.S. cinema chain AMC Entertainment Holdings along with also also U.S. studio Legendary Entertainment, promised generous subsidies for film makers although indicated a focus on China’s domestic film market.

“We will boost the Chinese movie industry development,” Wang said at the project’s opening ceremony.

“We will also turn Qingdao into a global hub for film,” he said, producing no reference to Hollywood in his brief speech.

Hundreds of Chinese film industry representatives attended, as well as Hollywood executives along with also also Chinese government officials of which included the vice governor of Shandong province.

The launch came as the mutual courtship between China along with also also Hollywood looks less rosy.

A handful of U.S.-China film ventures have fallen apart due to cultural clashes. Financing deals — including Wanda’s $1 billion wooing of Hollywood studio Dick Clark Productions — have also collapsed. Hollywood’s share of the Chinese market has lost ground to a surge of well-liked along with also also sometimes patriotic-minded Chinese films.

“We are not producing any commitment yet,” David Kornblum, vice president of international sales along with also also marketing for the Asia-Pacific at Walt Disney Studios, told Reuters on the sidelines of the Oriental launch.

Wanda sold off the Qingdao project to rival property developer Sunac China Holdings Ltd last year amid a sweeping sell-down of assets to raise funds. the idea retains management control of the project.

However Wanda, which has long been luring Hollywood studios to make movies in China, has said its pledged 5 billion yuan ($790 million) “development fund” still stands.

So far, no major American movie has been produced at Oriental, which partially opened in 2016, except Legendary Entertainment’s “Pacific Rim: Uprising” along with also also “Great Wall.”

Wanda said previously the idea aimed to host at least all 5 to six Hollywood projects in its first year of full operation in 2018.

China’s box office revenue is actually still swelling at double-digit rates after years of breakneck growth along with also also, with Hollywood know-how along with also also bigger budgets, Chinese movies are gaining momentum as they find ways to play on domestic themes along with also also improve production quality.

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