Billionaire Wang Jianlins Dalian Wanda Group Co. unveiled subsidies worth more than $150 million a year to lure film makers to his new studio complex in Chinas coastal city of Qingdao.
Wanda, the flagship of Wangs entertainment, real estate and finance conglomerate, will provide a 40 percent rebate for some production costs at Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis, Senior Vice President Jack Gao said Monday in Los Angeles. Studios including Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., Arclight and Wandas own Legendary Entertainment have agreed to use the Qingdao facility, Wanda said.
Wang, 61, is in Los Angeles to promote a growing entertainment empire that agreed last month to collaborate on movie projects with Sony Pictures and this year acquired independent film producer Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion. Wandas U.S. theater chain, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., has agreed to buy Carmike Cinemas Inc., which would make it the biggest domestic cinema operator, and is also buying Odeon & UCI Cinemas in the U.K.
China will be half of the global market, Wang said. If you want to make money in this market, you will have to understand and please Chinese audiences.
The 200-hectare (494 acre) Qingdao complex, is set to fully begin operations in 2018, Wanda said. The grounds will include an underwater studio, animation facility and film lots reflecting Europe and Chinese capitals in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Plans also include movie-oriented museums, resort hotels, a yacht club and a hospital at the site about 340 miles (550 kilometers) north of Shanghai.
Costs eligible for the rebate include Qingdao-based production spending, including for the sound stage, backlot, and on location, said Gao, who heads international investments at Wandas cultural division. Extras, meals, accommodations, transportation during shooting, costumes, props rental, and even post-production are all eligible, he said.
Pacific Rim: Maelstrom, a sequel to Legendarys 2013 action science fiction feature, will be the first U.S. feature to shoot at the Qingdao studio, The Hollywood Reporter said Monday.
Wanda held a high profile groundbreaking event in 2013, inviting some of Hollywoods biggest stars to the Chinese coastal city of Qingdao, including Nicole Kidman, Leonardo DiCaprio, John Travolta, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ewan McGregor and Kate Beckinsale.