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DreamWorks to create $3.14b Shanghai center

Updated: 2012-08-08 09:23
By Shi Jing in Shanghai ( China Daily)

DreamWorks to create $3.14b Shanghai center

Asian operation to make the third Kung Fu Panda movie in China

DreamWorks Animation, the US film company, has announced plans to build a $3.14 billion theme park in Shanghai, to bolster its presence in the booming local entertainment market.

The studio's newly formed China joint venture, Oriental DreamWorks, is scheduled to open the theme park in 2016, said the creator of hits like Shrek and Kung Fu Panda.

Li Ruigang, the chief executive officer designate of Oriental DreamWorks, said the 20 billion yuan ($3.14 billion) project - being dubbed the Dream Center - will comprise entertainment centers, animation exhibitions and commercial developments, including hotels and shopping areas in Shanghai's Xuhui district.

The Dream Center will be the flagship attraction of the West Bank Media Port in Xuhui district, and is expected to bring in 20 million visitors a year, according to data provided by the district government of Xuhui.

Oriental DreamWorks also announced it will make the next Kung Fu Panda movie, the third installment in the series, in China for release in 2016.

The ambitious move comes after Walt Disney, another US entertainment company, last year broke ground on its planned $3.7 billion theme park in Shanghai, which is scheduled to open in 2015.

The first two Kung Fu Panda films enjoyed great success in the Chinese market, and the second film took in 470 million yuan at the box office.

Li said the company plans to release up to three films a year and its first feature-length animated film is scheduled for global release in 2017.

Established with an initial investment of $330 million, Oriental DreamWorks is owned by DreamWorks Animation SKG, producer of the original Kung Fu Panda and other animated feature films, and its Chinese partners, which include three State-owned enterprises.

They are the Shanghai-based China Media Capital, Shanghai Media Group and Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd, one of the largest cultural exchange and cooperation programs between China and foreign countries.

The Chinese companies will hold a 55 percent stake in the new company, while DreamWorks Animation will control the rest.

Li Ruigang, also chairman of China Media Capital, said the company aims to become the largest animation production base in China and explore opportunities in copyright distribution, consumer goods, online games and musicals in the hope of establishing a complete home entertainment industry chain.

Xiang Yong, deputy director of the cultural industry research institute at Peking University, added that for Chinese domestic animators, who have suffered from an extended recession, DreamWorks' entry into China brings a great chance to learn from an industry leader.

"The cultural industry should always target a global market. We can now adapt to having global competition on our own doorstep."

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