Chinese Hollywood or One Billionaire’s Dream

Written By Alla Levin
January 13, 2016

Chinese Hollywood

I have always been fascinated by China, and I always keep my eye open to what is going on there. Media report that China was going to build its own Hollywood a couple of years ago.

Back then, one of China’s richest people, Wang Jianlin, was known as a businessman and philanthropist. He stated that he would invest around 8.2 billion dollars in the building of a complex allowing shoot films of Hollywood-level in China.

Bringing the popularity not only to the famous Chinese actors but making this studio the most attractive for the movie shooting worldwide. Nowadays, studios are being built; and it is expected to turn the project into reality by 2017. Minimum 20 studios are expected to be built by then.

Billionaire’s dream

A rendering of Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis, backed by Wang Jianlin, will include one of the world’s largest movie production facilities, a theme park, and a 300-berth yacht club, and much more. (Dalian Wanda Group)

Wang Jianlin’s company started working in the Chinese film industry back in 2005. He started opening cinemas despite that most shareholders were against it and considered that investments would bring nothing but losses. Back then, the company generated twice as much as he had expected.

Now, his long-held dream to recreate Hollywood in China has already begun to turn into reality. Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis is a full name of studio and film set complex where the best Chinese and world-star movies will be filmed. It is being built in Qingdao City by the Yellow Sea.

The following will be situated in the territory of Metropolis

  • Studio floor with an area of 33 thousand square meters;
  • Auxiliary departments, around 20 pcs., one of which will be underwater;
  • The theme park, similar to Universal Studios in the USA;
  • The museum of movies;
  • Permanent exhibition of cars;
  • Hotels and restaurants;
  • Cinema;
  • International hospital.

The idea’s scope is awe-inspiring, taking into consideration the deadline for building completion – 2017. Wanda Company will shoot around 30 movies per year with western and Hollywood stars as well as approximately 100 absolutely local films. You should add this destination to your China travel guide!

How a movie is shot in China

famous Chinese actors
Shoot from the movie “House of Flying Daggers.”

Active support of local movie production is not very helpful to local studios. Firstly, one should mention that a movie is shot quickly in China, which greatly affects its quality. To shoot a romantic comedy non-objectionable by censorship, it is enough to have a good scenario – money for its realization can be obtained the next day.

The film set will be ready in a few days. This is called “Chinese speed.” And those who shoot more serious films have to pass several circles of censorship, any of which may be fatal for a film at any stage.

After the approval of the scenario, the shooting may be started. But this is not all, as the ready film is subject to censorship; the film not approved by the committee will not come out. Films of all genres popular in Hollywood nowadays are shot in China.

  • Romantic comedies;
  • Melodramas;
  • Action films.

Movies about martial arts are the most popular in the world. Such films as “House of Flying Daggers” and “Hero” became very successful not only in China but far beyond it as well. Besides that, there are some famous directors shooting films in Hollywood, for example, John Woo.

Western interest

Movie Poster “Man of Tai Chi”

Taking into consideration that PRC’s censure does not allow showing films with steamy love scenes and other things unworthy for Chinese viewers, and quota for foreign movies – not more than 34 films per year.

It is effective in China, and many western companies strive for cooperation with Chinese companies and co-producing; the thing is that such films are not considered to be foreign ones. Wang Jianlin says that he has already entered into preliminary agreements with studios expected to shoot 30 films per year in Metropolis, engaging famous western actors in their films.

Besides that, the company allocates around 50 million dollars for agents to attract the West to cooperate with them. Wanda already has experience of working with real Hollywood star Keanu Reeves and the most famous Chinese actors.

Keanu Reeves was invited to Chinese Hollywood as a director of “Man of Tai Chi” and played one of the main parts in this film. In 2012, the company bought AMC Entertainment Holdings network of cinemas, the USA, at the price of 2.6 billion dollars.

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