DreamWorks Continues Its Overseas Expansion
|Rendering of proposed DreamCenter|
DreamWorks Animation is building a 15 billion yuan ($2.4 billion) entertainment complex in Shanghai, expanding Hollywood's growing ties with China.
The "DreamCenter" is scheduled to open in 2016 or 2017, to be located in Zuhui Riverside. Plans are for the DreamCenter to have a 500-seat IMAX cinema (the world's largest) to host international film festivals and red carpet events. There will be bars, restaurants and performance venues. Basically, the DreamCenter will showcase a top-notch "Dream Avenue" theater district modeled on London's West End and New York City's Broadway. The 15-hectare (40-acre) site also will include eight outdoor events plazas. This is in addition to other DreamWorks complexes being built in London, England and elsewhere.
In layout, the site bears a certain resemblance to New York City's Battery Park.
|Proposed DreamWorks DreamCenter|
The project is led by "Kung Fu Panda" and "Shrek" maker DreamWorks Animation. They have Chinese partners in investment fund CMC Capital Partners, whose owners include state-owned companies, and Hong Kong developer Lan Kwai Fong.
|Jeffrey Katzenberg makes the big announcement|
"This will become the world's third great urban center of entertainment and arts alongside New York's Broadway and London's West End," said DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg at a news conference. The event was held in a former cement factory, which will become one of the performance venues.
|Puss in Boots will be funny to hear in Chinese|
The cement factory is near the 2010 Shanghai Expo site in the city's western area. The complex also will include the headquarters of animation production company Oriental DreamWorks, a joint venture between DreamWorks and Chinese partners which will produce "Kung Fu Panda 3" for release in 2016.
|Jack Black provides the lead voice in the "Kung Fu Panda" series|
The new DreamCenter fits nicely into existing plans for national development of Shanghai, according to Guangshao Tu, Deputy Mayor of Shanghai:
"Xuhui Riverside is one of the key regions to be explored in Shanghai during the 'next National Twelfth Five-Year Plan' period. The speed and quality of the construction will have a significant impact on the future development of Shanghai.”China has been embarrassed by the quality of DreamWorks' quality animations of Chinese history and culture, with the government in the past questioning why local animators cannot do better than this American studio. Now, it appears, they have found a temporary solution: bring DreamWorks and its quality productions to China.
|DreamWorks DreamCenter model|
Intriguingly, Shanghai Disneyland, the first Disney park on the Chinese mainland, is scheduled to open in Shanghai's Pudong district at the end of next year. DreamWorks is, in a sense, playing catch-up, though they certainly don't see it that way. In any event, any competition between the big American studios there is good news for the city. Shanghai always has been a financial and manufacturing center. The DreamCenter complex and Shanghai Disneyland will add to that, diversifying the city into media and cultural industries.