China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, went on a bit of a shopping spree in Hollywood in October, picking up a number of useful titles for his dream of a Chinese movie mega-industry. For sci-fi fans, one of the biggest pieces of news involved a planned sci-fi blockbuster from Joe Johnston, the director behind Captain Aamerica: the first avenger and Jumanji, who cut his teeth on Starwars and Raiders of the lost ark as a VFX director and designer. The movie is to be called Starfall and will be written by David Coggeshall. Johnston isn't immune to flops (namely Jurassicparkiii), but the man who brought Honey, i shrunk the kids to life knows his strong suit: the green screen. Considering Wang's Qingdao movie complex boasts a 5,200-square-meter green screen, it's a pretty good guess that this next movie isn't going to be a claustrophobic think piece like Octobersky. Oh, and one more thing: it's got a 100 million USD budget—about twice the budget of the soon-to-be winter blockbuster Arrival. Even if the story itself ends up being complete rubbish, 100 million USD is sure to produce enough action to get bums in Chinese theater seats. If nothing else, Warcraft taught us that much. – TYLER RONEY
The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALVT), a state-backed firm, revealed that they have plans to enter the growing space tourism sector with the creation of a simple one-piece space plane. The biggest name in space tourism for the past few years has been Virgin Galactic, whose Spaceshiptwo—for the low, low price of 250,000 USD— can fly passengers to space and back, and Blue Origin's New Shepard will do the same. An important facet of the proposed Chinese model is that it's a one-piece. It's not possible to just “fly” to space on traditional engines, but whereas ships like the Spaceshiptwo intend to take off from another plane, the Chinese version would take off vertically from the ground. Both the Spaceshiptwo and the New Shepard will carry six passengers, and the 10-ton Chinese version will carry five. But, things get really exciting with the 100-ton model, which will be able to carry 20 passengers. This frontier in new space tourism might not be ready to take off for a long time yet, but, hey, Richard Branson has been selling tickets to Spaceshiptwo for years. – T.R.