Mingtiandi: Wang Jianlin Offers 40% Rebate to Bring Lawmakers to $8.2 Billion Qingdao Movie Studio
News story originally published at Mingtiandi.com
By Cheyenne Hollis
China’s richest man has a shiny, new $8.2 billion movie studio in Qingdao and hopes to lure big name filmmakers to use it by offering them a 40 percent production rebate. For Wang Jianlin, the goal is to transform his studio in the seaside city into the “Hollywood of China.”
The rebates, which are potentially worth more than $150 million a year for the next five years, would be funded by Wanda and the Qingdao government, and are available to foreign and local movies and television shows that shoot at the new Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis.
In addition to Wang, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs attended a red carpet premiere for the 408-acre studio at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. All three stressed the project’s potential for promoting greater collaboration between Hollywood and China.
“This metropolis will actually increase opportunities for Hollywood,” Wang was quoted by the LA Times as saying. “This is an opportunity for Hollywood, not competition for Hollywood.”
Wanda And Hollywood Continue Uneasy Relationship
Wang and Hollywood aren’t exactly best buddies with some welcoming Wanda’s arrival and others warning that the firm is trying to use its promises of millions to buy influence
Most recently, the Center for American Security, led by veteran D.C. campaigner Richard Berman, released videos aimed at increasing awareness of Chinese involvement in the entertainment industry
Wanda’s Hollywood purchases have also caught the eye of US lawmakers, who have appealed to the government to increase scrutiny of Chinese takeovers of American companies. A total of 16 legislators signed a letter asking the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) to look into the matter, citing Wanda’s purchase of the AMC Entertainment theatre chain as one example of a deal warranting greater scrutiny.
At the same time that Wang tries to lure movie-makers to Qingao, the mall tycoon has not shied away from finding fault in his would-be partners. During the event, Wang criticized Hollywood studios for relying too much on sequels and remakes. During the same trip Wang also announced that Wanda-owned Legendary Entertainment is planning to film follow up episodes of Pacific Rim and Godzilla at the Qingdao facility.
China’s Richest Man Desperate To Become A Hollywood Player
As Wang’s Hollywood ambitions move forward, Wanda is inching closer to buying Dick Clark Productions with Variety reporting the sale could be finalized as soon as this week. While initial reports estimated the sale price to be around $1 billion, a financier with knowledge of DCP’s earnings told the entertainment outlet that the real estate developer would likely offer $800 million for the live event broadcaster.
The deal is Wang’s latest move to turn Wanda into a big deal in Hollywood. He agreed to buy Carmike Cinemas for $1.1 billion via the firm’s AMC Entertainment Holdings subsidiary earlier this year, which will make Wanda the largest movie theatre operator in the US should the deal be completed. More recently, the former PLA soldier lost out in his attempt to acquire a $5 billion stake in Paramount Studios.
“He’s overpaid for a number of assets,” Stanley Rosen, a USC political science professor focusing on China, explained. “It’s always been more than economics. It’s not just about making immediate money. He’s got a long-term vision. He’s willing to overpay for assets to get his name out there as a serious player in Hollywood.”