“Chinese Titan Takes Aim at Hollywood,” said a New York Times report last month, referring to the plans of Wang Jianlin, China’s wealthiest investor and founder of the $30 billion real estate group Dalian Wanda, to build a movie-themed real estate project in the upscale seaside town of Qingdao. Price tag: 50 billion Yuan ($8 billion). “It is estimated that China’s film box office revenue will surpass North America’s by 2018 and will double it by 2023 — that is why I believe the future of the world’s film industry is in China,” the Times quoted Wang as saying.
Wang’s project, called the Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis, will include the world’s largest studio (among several others), resort hotels, an indoor amusement park and movie theaters on a 930-acre site. Big-name Hollywood stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Nicole Kidman were present at the project’s launch ceremony last month in Qingdao. Wang described the ceremony as a symbol of his country’s plan to become a leader in the movie business. Last year, he bought U.S. cinema chain AMC Entertainment for $2.6 billion.