China’s third richest man, Wang Jianlin, announced yesterday that his company, Dalian Wanda Group, was to embark on the construction of a giant film studio in Quingdao, on the country’s eastern coast.
Representing an investment of 50bn yuan (£5.1bn, $US8.18 billion), Wang claimed it as the most expensive studio project ever.
Named the Oriental Movie Metropolis, the facility will contain 20 sound stages, including the world’s first underwater studio, a convention and exhibition complex, a shopping mall and amusement park, and seven hotels.
It will not, apparently, be a contender for the title of world’s largest: that appears to still reside with the 47-stage Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad, India, as certified by Guinness World Records.
At a ceremony to announce the project, Wang said: “The Oriental Movie Metropolis is a major step in China’s strategy to become a global cultural powerhouse.” Hollywood stars such as John Travolta and Catherine Zeta Jones were in attendance.
The project marks the latest step in China’s increasingly influential role in the global film business at it seeks to take on Hollywood’s financial and artistic dominance. The road has not always been smooth, however: work on the recently announced co-production complex Chinawood appears to have stalled.
Wang’s $US8.6bn fortune has been accrued largely through real estate development, and has acquired considerable interests in entertainment and leisure industries. He made international headlines last year after purchasing US cinema chain AMC for $US2.6bn (£1.6bn).
Wang has also moved into film production, most notably with Keanu Reeves’ directorial debut Man of Tai Chi, and historical costume drama The Palace.
This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk
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