China’s Wanda Opens First Movie Theme Park in Wuhan

WUHAN – Dalian Wanda group, the Chinese conglomerate that controls the AMC cinema chain in North America, Saturday gave official openings to its latest entertainment industry extravaganzas.

In the central Chinese city of Wuhan, chairman Wang Jianlin headed a ceremony to open the Wanda Movie Park, which it claims is the world’s first indoor theme park, and the specially built Han Show Theatre. Wang said that the two sites had cost a combined RMB7 billion ($1.14 billion).

Giving a measure of the influence of the giant Chinese group, at least four foreign ambassadors to China were present Saturday morning. So too was former Ambassador Gary Locke; former AMPAS chief Hawk Koch, who is now a consultant to Wanda’s studio development in Qingdao; and leading Chinese film and events director Zhang Yimou.

The company has plans to compete with Disney, DreamWorks and Universal, which all have theme park ambitions in China. Wanda will open a string of theme parks across the country, making use of its extensive property industry developments, political connections and local know-how.

The company has already become China’s largest private sector cinema chain and has become a major distributor and film financier.

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