Mo on Po
Maybe this thread should be retitled Oriental DreamWorks.
DreamWorks, Shanghai partners unveil collaborative blueprint
English.news.cn 2012-08-07 17:15:29
SHANGHAI, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- U.S. film giant DreamWorks Animation (DWA) and its Chinese partners said on Tuesday that they plan to co-produce upcoming film "Kung Fu Panda 3," as well as build an "entertainment destination" in Shanghai.
The news was announced at a signing ceremony held in the city to launch a landmark Sino-U.S. cultural project titled "Oriental DreamWorks."
The two parties confirmed that the long-anticipated third installment of the blockbuster "Kung Fu Panda" franchise is slated to be released in 2016 by DWA and Oriental DreamWorks (ODW), a studio established by DWA in partnership with a trio of Shanghai-based companies.
DWA and three Shanghai-based state-owned groups -- China Media Capital (CMC), the Shanghai Media Group and Shanghai Alliance Investment Limited -- signed a deal in February to form a joint venture focusing on animation production, with the Chinese companies acting as controlling partners.
The first two "Kung Fu Panda" films enjoyed great success in the Chinese market, with the second film taking in 470 million yuan (74.6 million U.S. dollars) at the box office.
ODW is expected to produce its first original animated film in 2017. Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DWA, said previously that there are seven different proposals being considered for the film.
Until then, ODW will work to release one to three films a year to keep up with the pace of other international animation companies.
In addition, the two parties signed an agreement Tuesday to establish the "Dream Center" entertainment zone in the West Bank Media Port, which is located in Shanghai's Xuhui district.
The zone, to be built with a total investment of more than 20 billion yuan, will be made up of theaters, restaurants and bars, said Li Ruigang, CMC's chairman.
The West Bank Media Port, with the "Dream Center" as its flagship attraction, is expected to see 20 million visitors a year, according to data provided by the district government of Xuhui.
Li said the two sides will strive to develop Shanghai into an international culture center.
"In the long term, we may bring more entertainment zones to other domestic cities or even build them abroad," he added.
Katzenberg was said to have "intense interest" in the entertainment zone project, a first for the California-based company.
The collaboration between DWA and its Shanghai partners, inked during Vice President Xi Jinping's visit to the U.S. in February, is expected to create new opportunities for both sides.
For Chinese domestic animators, who have suffered from an extended recession, DWA's entry into China will bring a chance to learn from the company's experience.
"The cultural industry should always target a global market. We're trying to adapt to global competition at our doorstep," said Xiang Yong, deputy director of the cultural industry research institute at Peking University.
The Chinese animation industry saw its heyday in the 1960s, when the film "Uproar in Heaven" was screened at renowned international film festivals. But now, the industry is struggling with a lack of both original ideas and professionals.
Some local animation firms said they are longing to learn from DWA's assets, such as its storytelling expertise and its world-leading 3D technology.
During his visit to Shanghai in March, Katzenberg said the Shanghai studio will focus on stories that "have a connection to the culture, history and literature of China." He also promised to bring the 3D technology that DWA has developed during the past five years to Shanghai.
The studio is also expected to give the U.S. animation tycoon a foothold in the promising Chinese market.
China has become one of the biggest film consumers in the world, with film industry revenues surging at an annual rate of 30 percent, said Zhang Pimin, deputy director of the National Bureau of Radio and Television Industry.
China is also expected to become the second country in the world to have over 10,000 movie screens by the end of 2012, following the U.S.
Some have said that the announcement of the "Oriental DreamWorks" deal has put DWA in a fierce race with its domestic rival Walt Disney, which began to build a theme park in Shanghai last April.
Nevertheless, Katzenberg and Li both claimed on Tuesday that the "Dream Center" project will not be a threat to the Shanghai Disneyland.
"The 'Dream Center' is not a theme park. It's different from any other large cultural project in China, including Disneyland," Li said.
In April, Walt Disney joined hands with Chinese IT giant Tencent and state-owned animation company China ACG Group Co., Ltd. to launch a research and development project aimed at nurturing the homegrown animation industry and training professional animators.
In addition, the U.S. film tycoon has made the upcoming "Iron Man 3" a joint production with DMG Entertainment in Beijing.
"The co-production of the film shows the importance of Chinese audiences to Disney," said Zhang Zhizhong, the company's executive vice president.
‘Kung Fu Panda’ Studio Eyes $3.1 Billion Shanghai Complex
By Bloomberg News on August 07, 2012
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, Katzenberg 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.
Li, 43, will head Oriental DreamWorks as the chief executive officer, Katzenberg said during the media conference. Li is also a board member of Dublin-based WPP Plc. (WPP), the world’s largest advertising company by market value.
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.
“It’s an incredible metropolis here with many beautiful aspects to it but it doesn’t have that sort of cultural, entertainment center to it, and that’s what sort of got us started on this idea,” Katzenberg said. The Dream Center will be a “celebration of great theater, great art, great culture, great music, all in one place” and will target 18 to 34 year olds, he said.
Ben Wood, who designed Shanghai’s Xintiandi, an urban dining, shopping and entertainment district in the downtown area, will be among the designers for The Dream Center, Katzenberg said.
The project will be “complementary” to the Shanghai theme park being developed by Walt Disney Co. (DIS), Katzenberg said.
Disney Theme Park
Disney and its state-owned China partner Shanghai Shendi Group Co. announced in 2011 it will invest about $4.4 billion building the resort, which will open in about five years. The company also said in April it will co-produce “Iron Man 3” in China with Beijing Film Studio DMG Entertainment.
DreamWorks Animation shares slipped 0.7 percent to $17.83 in New York yesterday, paring its gain this year to 7.4 percent. Disney retreated 0.2 percent to $49.65, having rallied 32 percent in 2012.
Entertainment companies are seeking tie-ups with Chinese filmmakers in a bid to circumvent the country’s annual quota on the number of foreign-made films that can be shown in theaters. China allows 34 foreign films to be screened in China each year, with 14 to be shown in 3D or large format. Movies that are co- produced with Chinese partners can skirt the quotas.
To contact the reporter on this story: Alexandra Ho in Shanghai at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shiyin Chen at email@example.com