Wanda chief ad­vises Hol­ly­wood

China’s rich­est man tells stu­dio ex­ec­u­tives, agency heads what kind of movies his land is look­ing for

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - ByAIHEPING in New York ai­hep­ing@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

Get back to sto­ry­telling in your movies in­stead of pro­duc­ing so many se­quels and films loaded with spe­cial ef­fects. China will be­come the world’s No 1 box of­fice so put more “Chi­nese el­e­ments” in your movies. And profit, not pol­i­tics, is be­hind his buy­ing spree in Hol­ly­wood and his new move to lure movie mak­ing to China.

Those were among the mes­sages de­liv­ered on Monday evening in Los An­ge­les by Wang Jian­lin, China’s rich­est man and the head of real es­tate­me­dia con­glom­er­ate Dalian Wanda Group, to an in­vi­ta­tion-only au­di­ence that in­cluded US stu­dio ex­ec­u­tives and agency chiefs, as well as Chi­nese.

Along with the advice, crit­i­cism and praise of Hol­ly­wood, the 61-year-old bil­lion­aire used the Wanda-hosted event at the Los An­ge­les County Mu­seum to un­veil a 40 per­cent pro­duc­tion re­bate to lure movie and tele­vi­sion shows to shoot at his new “movie metropo­lis” in the city of Qing­dao. The com­pany has set up a five-year, $750 mil­lion fund with the Qing­dao govern­ment to give the re­bates.

“This metropo­lis will ac­tu­ally in­crease op­por­tu­ni­ties for Hol­ly­wood,” Wang said. “This is an op­por­tu­nity for Hol­ly­wood, not com­pe­ti­tion for Hol­ly­wood.”

Wang said his ac­qui­si­tion of US en­ter­tain­ment busi­nesses and his call for more “Chi­nese el­e­ments” in Hol­ly­wood movies was mo­ti­vated by busi­ness, not pol­i­tics. “There is no po­lit­i­cal point of view,” he said. “I am a busi­ness­man.”

Wang made a sim­i­lar com­ment in an in­ter­view with The New York Times that was pub­lished on Tues­day. Re­spond­ing to crit­i­cism from a mem­ber of Congress that Wanda’s en­ter­tain­ment buy­ing spree in the US is a pro­pa­ganda threat and should be sub­ject to more Jus­tice De­part­ment scru­tiny, Wang said that it’s “not like we are in­vad­ing”, adding that Wanda’s goal in­volves “help­ing” Amer­i­can film com­pa­nies “to get more mar­ket share in the emerg­ing movies mar­ket that is China”.

He also told the news­pa­per that Wanda re­mains in­ter­ested in buy­ing more Hol­ly­wood com­pa­nies as it seeks growth, in­clud­ing a ma­jor stu­dio. “If it is a very good com­pany”, he said, there will be “no ceil­ing” for the price of­fered.

In his re­marks to stu­dio ex­ec­u­tives, trans­lated by an in­ter­preter, Wang praised Hol­ly­wood, say­ing the Chi­nese are “stu­dents” of the in­dus­try, but also said stu­dios rely too much on turn­ing out se­quels and films laden with spe­cial ef­fects. “We have to make Hol­ly­wood go back to sto­ry­telling.”

And Wang gave some advice: “You can­not try to just make money in the Chi­nese mar­ket and dis­re­gard Chi­nese tastes,” Wang said.

LI GE / CHINA DAILY

Chi­nese busi­ness tycoon Wang Jian­lin (fifth from right), chair­man of Wanda Group, holds a sign­ing cer­e­mony in Hol­ly­wood on Monday night to re­bate 40 per­cent of ex­pen­di­tures by US film pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies spent at Qing­dao Wanda Stu­dios, in or­der to en­cour­age more film com­pa­nies to have their pro­duc­tion in China. Los An­gles Mayor Eric Garcetti (sixth from right) and Ch­eryl Boone Isaacs (sev­enth from right), pres­i­dent of the Academy of Mo­tion Pic­ture of Arts and Sci­ences, pre­sented at the cer­e­mony. Five top ex­ec­u­tives from Hol­ly­wood signed the agree­ments with Wanda. Wang ex­pressed his op­ti­mistic opin­ion about the de­vel­op­ment of the film mar­ket in China in the next 10 years.

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