Hainan set to become a cinematic crowd-puller
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Golf resort operator Mission Hills plans to build a movie studio and theme park in Hainan based on the sets featured in the films of mainland director Feng Xiaogang.
The HK$6 billion Mission Hills-Huayi-Fengxiaogang Movie-themed town is expected to open in Haikou, Hainan's capital, as early as 2014.
Shenzhen-based Mission Hills will have 60 per cent of the venture, mainland film group Huayi Brothers Media Group, a mainland film production company, 30 per cent and Feng the rest.
'We came up with the idea because we've found that many of our film viewers want to see the places in films for themselves,' said Feng, whose film Aftershock drew a mainland record of 532 million yuan (HK$656 million) at the box office in 2010.
'We think it will be a tourist attraction if we put the most interesting sets together.'
The movie studio and theme park will be in the Mission Hills' golf resort in Haikou, covering 560 hectares.
The first phase will be completed by the Lunar New Year in 2014 at a cost of 1 billion yuan, says the Mission Hills Group, the world's largest golf resort operator.
Following the trail blazed by Universal Studios in its movie-themed park in Los Angeles, the site will reproduce some of the classic sets in Feng's most popular films.
They may include ruined residential blocks featured in Aftershock, the ancient palace in Banquet and 1940s era streets from his latest film, Temperature So 1942.
Visitors will also be able to stay in a boutique hotel modelled on the romance If You are the One, or dine in a restaurant-train carriage modelled on the comedy A World Without Thieves.
Feng said he may also shoot films at the park when it was completed.
Ken Chu, Mission Hills Group chairman, said: 'There will be no entry fee. Our revenue will mainly come from commercial facilities like shops, restaurants, cinemas and hotels.' He expected the project to recoup its money within five years.
Huayi Brothers chairman Wang Zhongjun said the project was important because the company was shifting its focus from the highly competitive film-making industry.
The company, which is listed on Shenzhen's GEM (Growth Enterprise Market) board, has also started building a film park in Suzhou, Zhejiang, and cultural zones in Shenzhen and Shanghai.
'The theme park will enable us to continue to cash in on the films we made after they're shown in cinemas,' Wang said.
The mainland film industry has been booming, with box office takings jumping nearly 30 per cent last year to 13.1 billion yuan.
Earlier this week, film company Dalian Wanda said it would acquire US movie exhibitor AMC entertainment for US$2.6 billion, making it the world's largest cinema-owner.
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has said it has agreed to buy 19.9 per cent of Bona Film Group, a private film producer and distributor in China.