- Dalian Wanda Group will open parts of what is set to be the world’s biggest movie studio as early as the end of September.
- Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis (万达东方影都 ) is still scheduled to open fully in 2018, the project will be “partly operational” this year.
- Wanda pushed back the opening of the complex by more than a year to August 2018.
Billionaire Wang Jianlin’s Dalian Wanda Group will open parts of what is set to be the world’s biggest movie studio this year, with some local media reports saying it could be as early as the end of September.
While the 50-billion-yuan (US$7.5 billion) Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis (万达东方影都 ) is still scheduled to open fully in 2018, the project will be “partly operational” this year, Wanda told China Film Insider by email.
Originally scheduled for completion in April 2017, Wanda pushed back the opening of the complex by more than a year to August 2018.
The studio at the heart of the giant entertainment complex will be surrounded by hotels, a yacht club, a theme park, a celebrity wax museum, and a hospital.
Hollywood actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, and John Travolta attended the official launch of the Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis in September 2013.
Local media reported this week that parts of the complex in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao, will be operational on September 30 in order to accommodate the shooting of Pacific Rim: Maelstrom in October.
The sequel to the Guillermo del Toro sci-fi action movie was set for a summer 2017 release, but was put on hold by Legendary and Universal last year before getting a new release date of February 23, 2018.
Wanda confirmed to CFI that the film will be shot at the new complex in Qingdao but said a shooting date has not yet been confirmed. Neither Legendary nor Universal responded to emailed inquiries from CFI.
In January, Wanda paid $3.5 billion for a controlling stake in Legendary Entertainment, which made Pacific Rim and has been keen to shoot a sequel after the first movie earned RMB 699 million ($104.7 million) in China.
Wanda also said productions involving Hollywood studios, including Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, and Warner Bros — speculated about in local news reports — had not been officially confirmed. Wanda also poured cold water on claims made in local media that 100 domestic films will soon be made at the complex.
Wanda Group Chairman Wang told Reuters in August the studio will attract at least five films per year with production budgets of more than $100 million, alongside smaller Chinese productions.
Industry analysts expect the studio will provide a vehicle for Hollywood producers to get around tight Chinese import restrictions and access to the China market. Currently the number of foreign films allowed to enter China and be released on revenue-sharing terms is limited to 34 per year.
Wang has also flagged that he intends to announce two billion-dollar, non-production film-related deals in the United States.
— Additional reporting by Wang Qingyuan.