(Photo: AP) China has a rapidly growing movie market Wang Jianlin’s Dalian Wanda Group will build the studio Hollywood has been eager to expand distribution in China SHARE 2 CONNECT 37 TWEET COMMENTEMAILMORE QINGDAO, China (AP) China’s richest man plans to spend 50 billion yuan ($8.2 billion) to build the country’s version of Hollywood in the northeastern city of Qingdao. In a glitzy, star-studded red carpet event on Sunday, Wang Jianlin said his company, Dalian Wanda Group, will build a state of the art film studio complex in a bid to dominate China’s rapidly growing movie market. The Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis’s 20 studios will include a permanent underwater studio and a 10,000 square-meter (108,000 square-feet) stage that Wang said would be the world’s biggest. The facility will also include an Imax research and development center, cinemas and China’s biggest film and celebrity wax museums. The first phase is planned to open in June 2016 and it will be fully operational by June 2017. A yacht marina, eight hotels and a theme park will be built to attract tourists. The company has signed a preliminary deal with “a number of global film and television giants and talent agencies” to shoot about 30 foreign films a year. It did not name the companies. Wang also hopes to attract more than 50 Chinese production companies to 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 tycoon’s red carpet event in Qingdao underlined his outsized ambitions for China’s entertainment industry. 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, best known for Tsingtao Brewery founded when Germany colonized the city a century ago.
11. On Sept. 12, the phone started ringing because airports were locked down and movie and television studios couldnt shoot scenes they needed. The studio has grown to include everything from a private jet to a 747, as well as props and supplies. A guide dog takes longer and costs more than any other dog to train because they must be the eyes of their companion. So it wasnt surprising that they all went through with flying colors, Blake said. Going through security, none of the dogs balked or barked at the security wands or pat-downs, even if the wands set off alarms because of their leashes. The dogs sat at their handlers feet in the cabin during the simulated flight, which came with engine sounds, the captain speaking, cabin lights being dimmed, overhead bins being shut and warm-up vibrations, Wilcox said. If there was any nervousness, it was during the simulated takeoff, landing or turbulence. When a dog gets nervous, it might clamp its jaw, lick its lips or get wide-eyed, Blake said. With the dogs in the test class, petting was enough to reassure them, she said.
China seeks to create its own Hollywood
“To cut off someone’s big-ticket item makes it hard for a business to survive.” Darren Gold, chairman of the board of the West Hollywood Design District, said the city has worked hard to establish itself as a premier fashion destination, attracting a collection of both established luxury brands and independent designers. The ban, he said, is a slap in the face. “It’s detrimental to our image as a West Coast fashion capital and could prevent fashion houses from choosing West Hollywood,” Gold said. Despite its politically incorrect connotations, fur continues to be a mainstay on the catwalk. International fur sales were at $15.6 billion last year, including $1.3 billion nationally, said Keith Kaplan, executive director of the Fur Information Council of America, a fur industry trade group. The organization, headquartered in West Hollywood, is considering a lawsuit to block the ban. Genevieve Morrill, president and chief executive of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, has received numerous calls in recent days from retailers confused about what they can and cannot sell. The ban applies only to “wearing apparel,” which includes shoes, hats and gloves but not pocketbooks and purses. It includes shearling, a sheepskin or lambskin pelt that has gone through limited shearing. Popular Ugg boots that contain shearling are banned. Leather is not banned. Fur blankets are not banned. But sleeved blankets containing fur and meant to be worn are. Secondhand stores selling used fur products are not affected. A retailer caught selling fur can be charged with a misdemeanor if it receives more than three citations within a year.
Hollywood studio trains dogs on how to fly
Reuters Wang Jianlin, chairman of Dalian Wanda Group, is seeking to build a larger version of Hollywood in China. Closely held Wanda has signed agreements with four top global talent agencies to attract stars such as Ms. Kidman and Mr. DiCaprio to produce 30 films each year and attend an annual festival, the statement said. The company will also enlist 50 domestic film- and television-production companies to work with Wanda, ensuring that 100 homegrown films and shows are made each year. Mr. Wang not only wants a stronger foothold in Hollywood, he wants to re-create it in China, he said. A Chinese adaptation of the Hollywood sign is planned for the mountain overlooking the theme park-studio Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis. Its my dream, Mr. Wang said during an interview. When I decided in 2005 to enter the film industry, opening theaters, 99% of our stakeholders were opposed, saying the investment wouldnt pay off. But I decided to chase my dream. Now look at this market. The oceanside project, which is set for a partial opening in 2016 and to fully open the next year, will include a 108,000-square-foot film studio and 19 smaller facilities, one of which will be underwater, Wanda said in a written statement Sunday. It will also include a theme park similar to Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., a permanent auto show, a yacht center and an international hospital, as well as hotels and bars, the statement said. Mr. Wang is already banking on another government priority: building up a consumer-led economy.