Date
28 May 2017
Wang Jianlin predicts the Chinese box office would match the biggest market - the US and Canada - by 2018. Photo: Reuters
Wang Jianlin predicts the Chinese box office would match the biggest market - the US and Canada - by 2018. Photo: Reuters

China’s Dalian Wanda woos Hollywood with film subsidy

China’s richest man has unveiled a subsidy scheme to lure Hollywood to produce its movies in his multibillion-dollar studio complex in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao.

Hosting a red-carpet event in Los Angelese, Dalian Wanda Group chairman Wang Jianlin announced a 40 percent rebate of certain costs of filming at the studio, Reuters reports.

The incentive will be paid from a five-year, US$750-million fund financed by Wanda and the local government, the news agency said.

“This is an opportunity for Hollywood, not a competition for Hollywood,” Wang said from a podium on stage at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, speaking through a translator.

Wang has been the biggest Chinese dealmaker in the US film business, buying Legendary Entertainment – one of the producers of Jurassic World and The Dark Knight – and US cinema chain AMC Entertainment Holdings.

He is now trying to lure Hollywood filmmakers to the new production studio and entertainment district in Qingdao.

In a video narrated by American movie star Matt Damon, the complex is described as offering clear air, a temperate climate and a coastal location “that strongly recalls Southern California”.

Legendary will shoot sequels to Pacific Rim and Godzilla at the Qingdao facility, Wanda said.

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp and others have also agreed to shoot there, the company added.

Wang predicted the Chinese box office would match the biggest market – the United States and Canada – by 2018, and grow by about 15 percent annually for the next 10 years.

To succeed in that market, filmmakers need to feature “Chinese elements” in their movies, Wang said.

“You cannot try to just make money in the Chinese market and disregard Chinese tastes,” he said.

Some US lawmakers have raised concern about the growing investment by Chinese companies in Hollywood and the impact it might have on media in the US.

Wang said he was speaking from a “business perspective” in encouraging films that appeal to Chinese audiences, not a political one.

Wang also criticized the current emphasis by US studios on sequels and remakes of films that previously played well in China.

“This will probably not work forever,” he said. “Now the Chinese audiences are smarter.”

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CG

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