‘Kung Fu Panda’ Studio Eyes $3.1 Billion Shanghai Complex
August 7, 2012 02:07 pm
Oriental DreamWorks, a Chinese venture by DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. (DWA), will invest more than 20 billion yuan ($3.1 billion) building an entertainment center in Shanghai to rival New York’s Broadway and London’s West End.
The Dream Center, which will include theaters, shops, restaurants and hotels, is scheduled to open in 2016, Oriental Dreamworks said in a statement today. The company also said it will co-produce “Kung Fu Panda 3” in China and plans to release the animated film in 2016.
The investment will give Glendale, California-based DreamWorks Animation a footprint in one of the world’s fastest- growing movie markets. Ticket sales in China rose 35 percent last year to $2 billion, according to the Motion Picture Association of America, making China the third largest movie market behind the U.S. and Japan.
“We have formed what we think is a very valuable strategic partnership to make world class feature animation,” Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive officer of DreamWorks Animation, said at a press conference in Shanghai today. “We’re very confident that the creative talent exists here in China. We’re very enthusiastic about building a studio.”
The animation studio will hire 800 people over the next four years, Katzenburg said, and add more employees eventually. He also said it has seven scripts in development, one of which will be the company’s first original production out of China.
“Kung Fu Panda 3” will be a sequel to the 2011 and 2008 films, which generated more than $600 million each in worldwide ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo, an industry tracker. Oriental DreamWorks plans to release one to three films a year following its first solely created feature production in 2017, it said in today’s statement.
DreamWorks Animation owns about 45 percent of Oriental DreamWorks, with the rest held by China Media Capital, Shanghai Media Group and Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd. The companies are seeking partners to fund the investment in the Dream Center in Shanghai, said Li Ruigang, Chairman of China Media Capital.
The entertainment complex will feature a “Dream Walk,” the world’s largest Imax screen, which can be used for film premieres and other events, according to the statement. It will be located in the district of Xuhui along the Huangpu River that winds through Shanghai. (Bloomberg)