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Chinese helmer launches theme-park plan

Feng Xiaogang's site latest in series of resorts

BEIJING — Disney’s planned resort in Shanghai may have competition from a major domestic player, as China’s most bankable helmer, Feng Xiaogang, broke ground on his own $158 million themed resort and shopping mall.

The helmer attended a ceremony to launch the Feng Xiaogang Film Commune at the weekend in Haikou, on the southern Chinese island of Hainan, which will comprise five or six sound stages, a shopping mall, hotels, luxury spas and a golf course.

Feng is best known for his huge domestic hits, including “The Banquet” (2006), “If You Are the One” (2008) and “Aftershock” (2010).

This is the first movie-themed resort dedicated to a Chinese filmmaker and the site will feature stage sets from Feng’s forthcoming “Remembering 1942,” which features Tim Robbins and Adrien Brody, and “The Banquet.”

Venture is backed by Feng’s long-time production partners, Huayi Bros., as well as the sports and leisure group Mission Hills Group, which runs the nearby golf course plus the world’s biggest course in Shenzhen, southern China.

The 230-acre film commune is set to open at Chinese New Year at the end of January, 2014, which is when Feng traditionally releases his movies.

China is seeing a wave of theme-park construction right now. As well as the new Disney park in Shanghai, developers are building a Buddhism-themed park near the historic Dunhuang caves in Gansu province.

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