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Thread: Chinese Theme Parks

  1. #166
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    Ot

    I know, I know. This is Japan, not China. But I love Studio Ghibli and after this opens, I'll put it on my bucket list.

    MAY 31, 2019 5:34AM PT
    Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli to Build Japan Theme Park
    By MARK SCHILLING
    Japan Correspondent


    CREDIT: MOVIESTORE/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

    Japan’s iconic Studio Ghibli animation house has joined forces with local partners to build its first theme park.

    Together with the government of Aichi Prefecture and the Chunichi Shimbun newspaper, the company will develop a park within Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park. The venue, not far from Nagoya in central Japan, was a world’s fair held for 185 days in 2005 that attracted nearly 22 million visitors to its 460-acre site.

    Details were announced Friday by Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki, Aichi governor Hideaki Omura and Chunichi CEO Uichiro Oshima at a press conference in Tokyo. The park is scheduled to open in the fall of 2022, with additional attractions opening a year later. The construction budget was not announced.

    Ghibli will handle the creative side of the project. Five-themed areas are foreseen, based on Hayao Miyazaki’s “Howl’s Moving Castle” and “Princess Mononoke,” as well as other Ghibli films.

    Miyazaki, who is currently working on a new feature, “is really worried about the Ghibli park,” Suzuki jokingly told reporters. “He can’t leave anything up to other people. He’s a meddlesome old man.” Miyazaki’s only son Goro Miyazaki “is working hard (on the park project), but (Miyazaki) is not the type to look on supportively from a distance,” Suzuki continued. “He starts in right away with ‘do this’ and ‘don’t do that’.”

    Earlier this month it was confirmed that Ghibli’s “Spirited Away” is to get a theatrical release in China, on June 21, 18 years after it opened in Japan and elsewhere.
    Gene Ching
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  2. #167
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    Yulong Shuiyun Water Amusement Park

    That's a pretty authentic tsunami.

    Chinese tourists injured after ‘tsunami pool’ malfunctions at water park
    Scores of swimmers at theme park near North Korean border were injured by a sudden tidal wave that operators say was caused by damaged electronic equipment
    Some of the 44 people injured suffered fractured ribs after problem with wave-generating machinery caused accident
    Laurie Chen
    Published: 5:59pm, 31 Jul, 2019


    Forty-four tourists were injured by a bigger-than-expected wave at a water amusement park in northeast China. Image: Youku

    Forty-four tourists have been injured by a bigger-than-expected wave at a “tsunami pool” in northeast China, according to a local government announcement.
    The incident occurred at Yulong Shuiyun Water Amusement Park in the city of Longjing near the border with North Korea.
    Five people were still being treated in hospital for injuries, including fractured ribs, but their condition is stable, according to a notice posted on Weibo by the Longjing city government on Tuesday.
    “According to the initial stages of the investigation, the incident was caused by a power cut that damaged electronic equipment in the tsunami pool control room, which led to the waves in the tsunami pool becoming too big and injuring people,” the notice said.
    The park had closed down the tsunami pool while an investigation was ongoing, the notice said.
    A video clip of the incident published by online news outlet Beijing Time shows a sudden tidal wave overwhelming dozens of swimmers, including screaming children and families, in a large pool at the theme park.
    A theme park worker told Beijing Time on Tuesday that an “accidental breakdown in machinery” caused the incident.
    “Online rumours say that a worker wrongly operated the controls, but in reality it was a problem with the equipment,” the employee was quoted as saying.
    “The park closed for a day for repairs, but the investigation is over and the park will open as usual tomorrow.”
    44 tourists were injured after a giant wave swept through a “tsunami pool” in northeast China. Photo: Weibo

    The water park is billed as the biggest of its kind in the Yanbian Korean autonomous prefecture in Jilin province and contains various attractions.
    In May, two people died and 12 were injured after falling off a water slide at a children’s theme park in Sichuan province, southwest China.
    Gene Ching
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  3. #168
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    Oh man, Crystal...

    Yifei really stabbed herself in the foot with this one.

    In China, Disney's #BoycottMulan Problem May Only Be Growing
    3:28 PM PDT 8/20/2019 by Patrick Brzeski , Tatiana Siegel


    Walt Disney Studios
    Crystal Liu in Disney's 'Mulan.'

    As the star of its Chinese warrior epic sides with police amid growing pro-democracy protests, the company may be "dragged into" taking sides as a mass sit-in at Hong Kong Disneyland is considered.
    On Aug. 14, Crystal Liu, star of Disney's upcoming live-action Mulan, weighed in on Hong Kong's police crackdown of pro-democracy protesters. "I support Hong Kong's police, you can beat me up now," she wrote to her 65 million followers on social media platform Weibo, adding the hashtag "IAlsoSupportTheHongKongPolice," with heart and arm-flexing emojis.

    Backlash, and talk of a boycott of Mulan, greeted Liu's post, with many pointing to the various international organizations that have accused the Hong Kong police of brutality and excessive force. And while Disney has chosen to remain silent so far, the problem may not go away any time soon for the studio, whose 10 tentpoles in the past year have earned 12 percent of their $8.85 billion in grosses from China. On a huge film like Avengers: Endgame, which became the all-time box-office champ with $2.8 billion in worldwide ticket sales, China accounted for a stunning 22 percent of that total.

    "Disney can't support the protesters because their business in China is too important," notes Stanley Rosen, a professor at USC who specializes in the Chinese entertainment industry. "But they obviously can't be seen as pandering too much to China either, because that could backfire as well, depending on how the situation in Hong Kong unfolds."

    The studio's studied silence at the least risks tainting the idealism of its brand and inflaming the international #BoycottMulan campaign. But if Disney instead distances itself from its star's statement, it will almost certainly invoke the ire of China's Communist Party authorities, who view control over Hong Kong as one their most urgent concerns.

    A source close to Liu, 31, says she is being unfairly singled out given that other Chinese celebrities have voiced support for Beijing over the Hong Kong protest movement, including the city's own Jackie Chan and Tony Leung Ka-fai. Though protesters bristle at all stars who parrot an autocratic government's talking points, they have an ideal wedge with Liu as the lead of the upcoming global tentpole Mulan — about a young Chinese female fighter of injustice — that Disney will release March 27.

    The studio's apparent decision to try to duck the difficult PR dilemma has put it in the awkward spot of aligning its interests with Beijing and the Hong Kong government, both of which seem to be hoping that the protesters will lose their nerve.

    And yet, it's not as if Disney CEO Bob Iger hasn't taken a stance on hot-button political topics before. He stepped down from President Trump’s business advisory council in response to the president’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate deal, calling the decision “a matter of principle.” Iger also said “I rather doubt [Disney] will” continue shooting in Georgia after the state passed one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.

    The Hong Kong movement's determination not to simply fade away was on display Aug. 18, when an estimated 1.7 million protesters braved heavy rain for a peaceful procession through the heart of the city. Protesters are considering staging a mass sit-in at Hong Kong Disneyland next, possibly as soon as Aug. 24. (Some are concerned that the theme park's location — on a remote corner of Hong Kong's Lantau Island — could leave protestors cornered and vulnerable to mass arrests.)

    Should they forge ahead — and should police respond — Disney may not have the luxury of avoiding comment if global newscasts show tear gas wafting over Hong Kong Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle. "If things polarize even further in Hong Kong and China resorts to even greater violence to assert its authority, it will become much harder for [Disney] not to get dragged into it," adds Rosen, noting that further comments from Liu could also inflame tensions. "It's not unthinkable that the release date for Mulan could have to be moved beyond March 2020."

    At the very least, Beijing's refusal to compromise an inch combined with the protestors' unflagging conviction has left even the most informed observers uncertain of how the standoff could conceivably unwind. Thus, Hong Kong's pro-democracy cause could very well continue to be a major news item come early 2020, when Mulan launches its worldwide marketing campaign — with star Crystal Liu front and center, facing the press gauntlet.

    Karen Chu contributed reporting.


    THREADS
    Mulan - Live-Action
    Hong Kong protests
    Chinese Theme Parks
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  4. #169
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    The first Kung Fu Panda-themed land

    Wizarding World and Kung Fu Panda land coming to Universal’s future Beijing theme park
    Kung-Fu Panda Land of Awesomess > Wizarding World
    By Petrana Radulovic@Pet_rana Oct 14, 2019, 4:30pm EDT


    Universal Studios

    The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will soon be coming to China. On Monday, Universal revealed that its planned Beijing resort will include seven themed lands from across all Universal properties. In addition to the popular Harry Potter land, Beijing will also be the home of Kung Fu Panda Land of Awesomeness, Transformers: Metrobase, Minion Land, Jurassic World Isla Nublar, Hollywood Boulevard, and WaterWorld.

    The Kung Fu Panda land will be the first Kung Fu Panda-themed land. The entirely indoor experience is designed to transport visitors to “legendary China.” Also unique to Universal Beijing Resort will be the Transformers: Metrobase land, which will expand upon the character of Metrobase and turn visitors into “guest agents.”

    The Jurassic World area, however, is new to Universal parks, though three existing Universal Studios locations have Jurassic Park-themed areas.

    Wizarding World of Harry Potter will get the Hogsmeade area for its the Beijing location. Meanwhile, WaterWorld continues to get a lot of love in Universal Studios’ Asia locations, as does Minion Land. Both appear in Universal Studios Japan and Singapore, with WaterWorld also in Universal Studios Hollywood.

    These attractions will make up the Universal Studios component of the Universal Beijing Resort. Another park is in development, though no details have been revealed. In addition to the park areas, Universal Beijing Resort will boast a City Walk entertainment, dining, and retail complex, six different hotels, and eventually a water park. The first phase of the Universal Beijing Resort is set to open in spring 2021.
    THREADS
    Chinese Theme Parks
    Harry Potter
    Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness
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  5. #170
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    Universal’s Beijing Resort, facial recognition & big data

    ASIA OCTOBER 16, 2019 11:00PM PT
    Universal’s Beijing Resort to Partner With Alibaba on Digitization
    By REBECCA DAVIS


    CREDIT: COURTESY OF 20TH CENTURY FOX

    Amid fierce controversy about the leverage China has over U.S. entertainment firms with significant mainland operations, Universal Beijing Resort and Alibaba announced a strategic partnership Thursday to digitize the forthcoming theme park in China’s capital.

    Facial recognition and the use of big data will be the norm at the new resort, which will use an Alibaba operating system for park management and operations, the companies said. For visitors, this means they will be able to use Alibaba’s facial-recognition technology to enter the park, access lockers and express lanes, and pay for merchandise and meals. They can also skip lines and order food via an Alibaba app. Tmall, Alibaba’s e-commerce platform, will work with the park to co-market products.

    Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts made the trip to Beijing for Thursday’s announcement, marking the project’s importance for the company.

    Roberts said that operating a park was about “making it fun and easy for our guests to enjoy their time with family and friends” as much as it was about the rides. “Our partnership with Alibaba will help us do exactly that,” he said.

    Foreign companies in China must have a local partner in order to do business in the country and access its enormous market. Universal Beijing Resort is owned by Beijing International Resort Company, a joint venture between Beijing Shouhuan Cultural Tourism Investment Company and Universal Parks and Resorts, a unit of Comcast NBCUniversal.

    The collaboration will allow for the enactment of a “multi-dimensional data-enabled operations management solution for the industry” and the establishment of a “truly digitized theme park,” said Daniel Zhang, Alibaba Group’s executive chairman and CEO. “The future of commerce is driven by technology and big data, and digitization will be the source of brand-new growth opportunities for all businesses.”

    Located in the suburban outskirts of Beijing, the theme park was first announced in 2014; construction began in 2016. Its opening date has been pushed back twice from 2019 to 2020 and now 2021. Once fully built, it will be the largest Universal park in the world. It is the fifth Universal resort worldwide and the third in Asia.

    On Saturday, the resort announced new details for the park’s layout. It will be divided between seven themed lands: “Kung Fu Panda Land of Awesomeness,” “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” ”Transformers: Metrobase,” “Minion Land,” “Jurassic World Isla Nublar,” ”Hollywood” and “WaterWorld.”

    “Our theme park will showcase the best Universal rides, as well as all-new, unique experiences specially created to reflect China’s rich cultural heritage,” said Universal Beijing Resort president and general manager Tom Mehrmann.

    The “Kung Fu Panda” land will be a world first, and the “Transformers” section will feature an expanded story about the character Metrobase, who chooses Beijing as the site of a new headquarters.

    The last two “Transformers” films have been bigger hits in China than in the U.S., with last year’s “Transformers: The Last Knight” earning $229 million in China – $99 million more than in U.S. – and 2014’s “Transformers: The Age of Extinction” grossing $320 million, outpacing its $245 million performance in the US.

    The finished resort will feature a Universal CityWalk entertainment and retail complex and at least two official on-site hotels: the Universal Studios Grand Hotel and the NUO Resort Hotel, set to open in 2021. A new subway station for the park is also currently under construction.

    Disney, which opened its Shanghai Disneyland in 2016, was recently the subject of harsh criticism in a controversial “South Park” episode that took the studio to task for giving in to Chinese censorship demands in exchange for market access.
    THREADS
    Chinese Theme Parks
    Guy uses facial recognition software on his cat (so delighted to find and ttt a facial recognition thread here. I anticipate that it will become quite relevant in future posts. )
    Jack Ma & Alibaba
    Gene Ching
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  6. #171
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    Shiyan Happy World



    CONSTRUCTION STARTS FOR SHIYAN HAPPY WORLD
    BY GABRIELLE
    23 DEC 2019

    Construction of the large-scale cultural tourism complex resort in China known as Shiyan Happy World, has officially began.

    Building of the 4,500-acre site commenced on December 16, 2019. The resort is to integrate natural resources and iconic cultural elements of Qinba, Hanshui and Wudang Taoism.

    Investment for the ambitious cultural tourism project was signed by the Chongqing Guorui Holding Group in September 2017 and investment was agreed by the Zhangwan District government. Chongqing Guorui Holding Group is investing 10 billion yuan into the project.

    Shiyan Happy World will feature a diverse range of areas, including an ecological shopping park, a water town, performing arts theatre, lighting water show, hot spring hotel, healthcare communities, mountain and sea parks, magic parks, research bases, happy farms, and more.
    I guess this is a theme park?
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  7. #172
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    Bungee pig

    As we are just about to transition to the Year of the Rat, here's a last Year of the Pig gem at a theme park no less.

    Chongqing theme park apologizes after forcing pig to bungee jump
    The park said the pig made it out of the ordeal unscathed before being sent to the slaughterhouse
    by Alex Linder January 20, 2020 in News



    The management of a tourist spot in Chongqing has issued a half-hearted apologized after causing Chinese netizens to squeal in anger by making a pig into an unwilling bungee jumper.

    Video from the Meixin Red Wine Town theme park out in the city’s Fuling district shows the 100 kg porker being shoved off the 68-meter-high bungee platform and screaming in terror on the way down. Close-up footage shows that the animal was essentially hog-tied and wrapped in what would seem to be a purple cape.

    While pigs may enjoy diving, it seems like bungee-jumping is not their thing.

    The stunt took place on Saturday, on the bungee jump attraction’s opening day. It was evidently not merely an inhumane attempt at finally making a pig fly, but also a reference to plummetting pork prices and a commemoration for the end of the Year of the Pig.

    Management offered this explanation while apologizing for failing to put enough consideration into the event, adding that the pig was not hurt in the jump and was promptly sent off to the slaughterhouse afterward.
    Gene Ching
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  8. #173
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    House of mouse closes...

    ...how inauspicious for the Year of the Rat.

    Shanghai Disneyland Closing In Response To Coronavirus Outbreak
    By Nellie Andreeva
    Co-Editor-in-Chief, TV
    @DeadlineNellie
    January 23, 2020 11:33pm


    (
    Photo by Sipa Asia/Shutterstock

    Disney is temporarily closing its theme park in Shanghai as efforts continue to contain the coronavirus outbreak in China.

    “In response to the prevention and control of the disease outbreak and in order to ensure the health and safety of our guests and Cast, Shanghai Disney Resort is temporarily closing Shanghai Disneyland, Disneytown including Walt Disney Grand Theatre and Wishing Star Park, starting January 25, 2020,” the company said in a statement posted on the Shanghai Disneyland website. “We will continue to carefully monitor the situation and be in close contact with the local government, and we will announce the reopening date upon confirmation.”

    Disney’s decision follows the announcement that all local film releases scheduled for the highly lucrative Chinese New Year period have been canceled as authorities try to stave off a potential spread of the coronavirus.

    The cities of Wuhan and neighboring Huanggang were in virtual lockdown, with transport in and out of the cities closed, and restrictions in place in other areas as well. The latest outbreak has killed 25 people and infected more than 800.

    The $5.5B Shanghai Disneyland, which opened in mid-2016, was Disney’s first theme park in mainland China. The estimated financial impact on the closure was not immediately clear.

    Disney said guests who purchased tickets or booked hotel rooms would be reimbursed for the cost.
    THREADS
    Coronavirus
    Chinese Theme Parks
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  9. #174
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    Ocean Park

    Ocean Park is drying up. Anyone ever been?

    Ocean Park’s fight for survival: can home-grown Hong Kong attraction be brought back from the brink?
    Bosses have outlined HK$10.6 billion plan to rejuvenate the theme park, but lawmakers are balking at the bailout
    The Post looks at the details of the proposal, how Ocean Park got to this point and the questions still to be answered
    Kanis Leung
    Published: 11:00am, 1 Feb, 2020


    Ocean Park still attracts millions every year, but numbers are dwindling and its finances woeful. Photo: Martin Chan

    Hong Kong’s cash-strapped Ocean Park faces an uphill battle to secure the legislature’s approval for a HK$10.6 billion (US$1.4 billion) bailout.
    With just HK$400 million in the bank, senior management at the theme park warned it would run out of money this year without fresh capital, blaming the downturn partly on intensifying competition in the region.
    But the ambitious proposal to revamp the attraction was met with widespread scepticism as one lawmaker dubbed it “a failed business”, while some feared the debt burden would endure even with the cash injection.


    How the Azure Bay section of a revamped Ocean would look. Photo: Handout

    What is the HK$10.6 billion plan?
    Aimed at turning the amusement park into an adventure-themed resort, the government-backed plan strives to make better use of its scenic shoreline while appealing more to families.
    The 43-year-old park in Aberdeen would be divided into seven themed zones, embracing a total of more than 20 new attractions by 2027.
    More than 10 existing popular attractions would be upgraded or remodelled, with others demolished.
    One highlight would be a new section called Azure Bay, which under the plan would boast a pier from where visitors could board ferries to a new promenade at Deep Water Bay and Tai Shue Wan. En route, passengers could enjoy the coastal scenery around the south of Hong Kong Island.
    Another zone Ocean Square – providing dining and retail facilities – would be open to the public without paying an entrance fee.
    The park’s deputy chairman Lau Ming-wai said the business would make good use of tree houses and campsites in that area to help them tap into the study tour market.
    Attendances at Ocean Park are expected to rise from 5 million in the financial year 2022-23 to 7.5 million in 2027-28, which comes close to its 7.7 million record posted in 2012-2013.
    Bosses also stated the park would not be able to repay HK$2.3 billion in commercial loans, and another HK$3.67 billion owed to the government, both due within two years.
    Part of the proposal includes an eight-year delay in repaying the government.

    A failed business?
    The amusement park unveiled its proposals last month after scrapping an annual salary review for some 2,000 full-time staff for 2020, amid a tourism downturn triggered by the ongoing anti-government protests in the city.
    The policy, along with measures such as reining in operating and discretionary expenses, was the park management’s response to its sharp plunge in visitors numbers in the later half of 2019.
    On January 20, the park’s chief executive Matthias Li Sing-chung revealed in a Legislative Council panel meeting: “We now have HK$400 million in cash.”
    The shocking revelation of the paltry sum sparked criticism from pro-establishment lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, who is also an executive councillor.
    “But you owe debts amounting to billions,” the New People’s Party chairwoman said. “If you were an actual business, you would have gone bankrupt. This is a failed business.”
    Holden Chow Ho-ding, vice-chairman of the city’s largest pro-establishment party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said it would be relatively hard to support the proposal with the information provided, and asked whether a short-term revival plan should be worked out first.
    But the park’s chairman Leo Kung Lin-cheng insisted the time had passed for simply making minor changes.
    While the pro-democracy camp’s Civic Party opposed the proposal, the park had received the government’s backing.
    Commerce minister Edward Yau Tang-wah said he had faith in the home-grown brand of Ocean Park, and its prospects under the plan.
    Where did it go wrong for Ocean Park?
    The theme park’s performance has slipped over four consecutive years, with waning visitor numbers, a lack of new major attractions and growing regional competition blamed.
    The number of visitors to the park have fallen from 7.6 million in 2014 to 5.7 million last year. The deficit ballooned from HK$241.1 million in 2016 to HK$557.3 million last year.
    It has lost money four years in a row to 2018/2019, even as Hong Kong was breaking records for tourist numbers in 2018.
    Former chairman Allan Zeman, who was known for cosplaying as a dolphin, an octopus and even a vampire to promote the park during his time at the helm, sensed changes in the venue’s atmosphere after his departure in 2014.
    “Maybe after I left, I didn’t see the same kind of vibrancy,” he said.
    Brian King, associate dean of Polytechnic University’s school of hotel and tourism management, said Ocean Park had tried to work as a commercial theme park and a site for wildlife conservation.
    “That formula has not been working well in that highly competitive environment,” he said.
    Last year, anti-government protests in Hong Kong sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill dealt another heavy blow to the attraction.
    Its guest numbers plummeted by over 30 per cent to 1.9 million, from the period between July and December 2018 to the same months last year.
    The park added that if the trend continued, attendance would drop by more than 40 per cent to 3.3 million in the year to June.


    The park will try and make more of the natural scenery that surrounds it. Photo: Martin Chan

    More bad news emerged last month when the park’s management revealed its state-of-the-art water park attraction had exceeded its HK$2.29 billion budget by more than HK$1.4 billion.
    Its opening, which is now due this year, has been delayed by about three years. The extra cost of that saga is not dealt with in the latest expansion plan.
    The park’s plight has been shrouded in yet more uncertainty by its closure since January 26, for an indefinite period, as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus.
    How are its rivals performing?
    King, of PolyU, said a threat to the park was competition from Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, which opened in 2014 in Zhuhai, mainland China, and had already welcomed 5.5 million guests in its first year.
    The two parks share similar positioning and branding, he said.
    According to a report published by Themed Entertainment Association and the Economics practice at AECOM, a consultancy firm, Chimelong ranked 10th in the world for attendance in 2018, with 10.83 million guests.
    The figure was 1.87 times that of Ocean Park’s, which came 20th in that report.
    “As soon as Chimelong came aboard, Ocean Park has not managed to compete effectively,” King said.


    Ocean Park’s troubles have been blamed in part on the rise of rival attractions such as Chimelong Ocean Kingdom in mainland China. Photo: Nora Tam

    He noted Ocean Park was also dependent on mainland travellers, who would find the Zhuhai entertainment hub easier to visit.
    The same firm was behind the design of both Chimelong and Ocean Park’s Grand Aquarium, he added.

    What are the unanswered questions?
    Lawmakers have demanded more information and justification for the HK$10.6 billion plan. There are no details available for the individual price tags of each of the planned attractions.
    King said the proposal was about getting customers to increase how much they spent rather than just filling the park with large numbers of people.
    “Can they get back to these [attendance] numbers? Probably. But the question is more on can they get the economic impact by persuading these visitors to spend a lot, a lot more,” he said.


    Kanis Leung

    Kanis is a reporter for the City desk. She joined the Post in 2018.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  10. #175
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    COVID-19 impact on global entertainment

    Entertainment giants brace for outsize hit from theme park closures, cinema shutdowns
    "China alone is a third of the world’s movie screens. I can’t think of anything comparable," said one entertainment expert about the financial impact of cinemas across China remaining shuttered.


    A security guard wearing a protective facemask is seen at the temporarily closed Shanghai Disney resort in Shanghai on Feb. 23, 2020.Noel Celis / AFP - Getty Images file
    March 3, 2020, 6:02 AM PST
    By Claire Atkinson

    Major entertainment and media conglomerates have been grappling with the unstoppable coronavirus contagion in Asia and Europe, and now it’s arrived on American shores.

    COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, has already claimed six lives in the United States, with almost 100 confirmed cases nationwide, making some Americans cautious about spending time in public spaces.

    "This virus has so many unknowns and is clearly highly contagious. Why take the risk, being in huge public places like theme parks or contained on a cruise ship?” Stacey Bendet, chief executive of Alice+Olivia fashion company, told NBC News.

    Shares of some entertainment stocks fell on Monday, with Live Nation, SeaWorld Entertainment and Six Flags showing declines for the day. Disney and Netflix stocks rose — along with fitness company Peloton — as interest in "at-home" entertainment gathers strength.

    “If [the virus] is a major issue in the U.S. into the May/June time frame, all bets are off," said James Hardiman, a managing director at Wedbush Securities. "I wouldn’t think we are there yet,” he said, noting that the big regional parks aren’t yet open for the season.

    China has not been so lucky. Shanghai's $5.5 billion Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland both closed indefinitely on Jan. 26, which Disney said would ding its bottom line by $175 million. In Japan, the two Disney-branded theme parks in Tokyo are closed until March 16 as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus.

    "The precise magnitude of the financial impact is highly dependent on the duration of the closures," Disney's Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy said last month.

    Universal's Osaka theme park has also closed down for two weeks as part of the government mandate. Universal Beijing Resort, a giant theme park under construction and penciled for a spring opening, has emergency staff back on the job. They are being monitored with thermal equipment and some have been encouraged to work at home, according to a spokesperson for the company. Universal is owned by Comcast, the parent company of NBC News.

    Television show production has also been hurt. CBS said on Friday it would postpone filming on its global adventure TV series, “The Amazing Race,” citing "increased concerns and uncertainty regarding the coronavirus around the world."

    Film producers have been left in limbo. “This has thrown a wrench into filming schedules,” said Rob Cain, a partner in Pacific Bridge Picture, which works closely with Chinese companies. Cain said it was unclear how insurance policies would deal with the problem, given all the lost revenue.

    China began closing some 70,000 movie theaters on Jan. 23, with no word on when they might open again.

    "China alone is a third of the world’s movie screens,” Cain said. “I can’t think of anything comparable, and I’ve been in the business 30 years."

    Global box office revenue clocked in at $42.5 billion in 2019, with China representing $9.2 billion.

    “It is an enormous impact,” said Stanley Rosen, an expert in U.S.-China relations and a professor of political science at the University of Southern California. He pointed to the potentially delayed release of Disney’s $200 million Chinese warrior movie “Mulan” in the China market, which is slated to open in late March globally.

    In Europe, AMC Theatres closed its cinemas in Northern Italy to help local governments contain the spread of the disease. Half of all Italian cinemas are now closed, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The Cannes Film Festival said it was monitoring the epidemic, but would move ahead with its May event, even though a Cannes resident tested positive for the virus.


    Claire Atkinson
    Claire Atkinson is the senior media editor for NBC News.
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    Gene Ching
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  11. #176
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    first step of a phased reopening

    ASIAMARCH 8, 2020 9:37PM PT
    Shanghai Disney Resort, Closed in January due to Coronavirus, Set to Partially Reopen Monday
    By REBECCA DAVIS


    CREDIT: IMAGINECHINA/AP

    The Shanghai Disney Resort has said it will reopen some of the shopping, dining and entertainment options on Monday, though the main theme park will remain closed to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

    The move is the “first step of a phased reopening,” it said in a statement posted Monday to its website. The resort has been closed since January 25.

    Certain facilities at Disneytown, Wishing Star Park and the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel will operate with limited capacity and at reduced hours, and parking lots will reopen, the resort said. The Disneyland theme park itself will stay closed as the park “continue(s) to closely monitor health and safety conditions.”

    Visitors will be required to wear masks during their entire time within the Disney Resort area, submit to temperature screenings upon arrival, and “present their Health QR code” when entering dining areas.

    Walt Disney Co. owns a 43% stake in the Shanghai Disney Resort. It is one of four Disney-branded theme parks in Asia, alongside one in Hong Kong, which has also remained shut since late January, and two in Tokyo.

    In an earnings call, Disney said a two-month closure of the Shanghai park could cost $135 million in lost earnings, while a two-month of closure of Hong Kong could cost $145 million.

    In Japan, the Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea parks shuttered for a two-week period starting Feb. 29 to stem the spread of coronavirus, and are expected to re-open on March 16. In a normal year, they welcome about 30 million visitors.
    This has got to be so tough. I'm sure Shanghai Disney was looking to cash in on the Year of the Rat (mouse).

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  12. #177
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    Enlight Movie World

    Jan 18, 2021 6:51pm PT
    China’s Enlight Media Moving Ahead on $2.5 Billion Theme Park

    By Patrick Frater


    Courtesy of Enlight Media
    Chinese film and TV studio Enlight Media says it is moving ahead with development of a movie-inspired theme park in Yangzhou, eastern China. It has selected Hollywood firm Legacy Entertainment as the designer of the park’s core Enlight Epicenter component.

    Plans for Enlight Movie World were first announced in 2018. And Enlight says that its first foray into location-based entertainment requires an investment of $2.5 billion (RMB16.4 billion). The company says that the park will eventually encompass a massive 651 acres (2.63 square kilometres), but it has not publicly confirmed a completion date.

    The Enlight Epicenter will feature experiences and attractions inspired by Enlight’s popular animated film properties. Offerings will also include themed retail and dining experiences, anchored by a family entertainment center, and be connected by a series of so-called ‘Art Gardens.’

    Subsequent phases will include a wide variety of uses, including a theme park and expansive film and television production facilities. Enlight has been responsible for hit films including “Ne Zha,” which grossed $580 million, and live action father and son drama “Looking Up,” which grossed $123 million in 2019.

    “Unlike studio-themed parks in America and Europe which tend to look towards the past, the relative youth of China’s homegrown IP-based LBE industry is all about looking forward,” said Eric Carnagey, Legacy’s MD and co-owner, in a statement. “We get a unique chance to imagine and create the ‘film studio and movie theme park of tomorrow’ by utilizing Enlight’s prominent position as a China-based film production and distribution company alongside their widely recognized properties.”

    Legacy has previously worked with China’s Hengdian World Studios, which claims to be the world’s largest film studio, on its recent expansions. Its Hengdian Shanghai Bund debuted in 2019 with a mix of theme park-style rides, shows, and production facilities. The company has also worked with the Cirque du Soleil.

    Within Asia, Legacy has several past and upcoming developments. These include the Galaxy Macau Resort, Macau Studio City resort, Lotte World expansion in Korea, and the recently-opened Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park. Upcoming openings include the Lotte Magic Forest theme park in Busan, Korea, and Chimelong Marine Science Museum in China’s Zhuhai.
    I think the last Enlight film I saw was Nezha.
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  13. #178
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    Disney HK

    Architecture
    Hong Kong Disneyland's new castle is an architectural vision of diversity

    Published 25th March 2021

    Credit: Courtesy Hong Kong Disneyland Resort


    Written by Elissaveta Brandon, CNN
    Much has changed in the 55 years since Walt Disney died -- not just in the fortunes of his brand, now one of the world's most influential corporations, but in the characters it creates and the values it promotes.
    So, when the company went about building a new fairytale castle at Hong Kong Disneyland, it took into consideration something that would have barely factored into discussions when its first resort opened in Anaheim, California, in 1955: diversity.
    The new Castle of Magical Dreams, completed in November and reopened last month after Hong Kong's Covid-19 restrictions loosened, nods to the wider variety of female characters now featured in Disney movies. Unlike the Cinderella Castles in Florida and Tokyo or the Sleeping Beauty Castles in California and Paris -- all of which were partly inspired by the 19th century Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany -- the design represents not just one heroine but over a dozen.

    Hong Kong Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle had been in place for 16 years. Credit: Courtesy Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
    The new structure was built atop the existing Sleeping Beauty Castle, the centerpiece of Hong Kong Disneyland since the resort opened in 2005. As such, Princess Aurora still holds a special place in the new castle, with a tower dedicated to the "Sleeping Beauty" protagonist standing the tallest.
    But the other 12 towers pay homage to a variety of different princesses, queens and heroines, including historical or folk figures fictionalized by Disney, like the Chinese warrior Mulan and the Native American figure Pocahontas. (Anna and Elsa from "Frozen" share a tower between them).
    Diversity is also reflected in the eclectic architecture, which sees rose gold domes mixed with embossed turrets and spires. Disney's so-called "Imagineers" -- the artists, designers and engineers behind the theme parks -- incorporated the characters' storylines into the design of each tower, such as an apple lattice pattern in Snow White's ("Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"), scalloped detailing for Ariel's ("Little Mermaid") and a water lily motif for Tiana's ("The Princess and the Frog"). Elsewhere, the structure boasts gold-tipped finials, stained-glass rose windows and columns with hand-carved embellishments.

    Mulan's cherry-blossom tower. Credit: Courtesy Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
    Design challenges
    Hong Kong's original Sleeping Beauty Castle was directly inspired by the first Disneyland resort in California. This castle had been dreamed up in the 1950s by Walt Disney, who envisioned an amusement park for the entire family, complete with a replica of an old-fashioned American main street and distinct "dreamlands."
    To honor its founder's vision, Disney decided to preserve Hong Kong's Sleeping Beauty Castle when it embarked on a major expansion in 2016 -- instead of demolishing it entirely, designers built atop and around it.
    "The original castle is a foundation of Disney, so we wanted to build upon that," said Hilcia Pena, a senior architect at Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) in a video interview.
    The result is a palimpsest of sorts, where versions of many castles -- the California original, Hong Kong's 2005 replica and the brand-new Castle of Magical Dreams -- come together as one. After the multi-year, 10.9 billion Hong Kong dollar ($1.4 million) expansion, which also saw the park welcome multiple new attractions, the re-imagined castle is over twice the height of the old one.

    The new Castle of Magic Dreams. Credit: Courtesy Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
    According to Pena, this means that the castle is no longer dwarfed by the mountainous landscape of Lantau, the island where Hong Kong Disneyland is located. Imagineers even used helium-filled balloons to help them visualize the height of the prospective structure in relationship to its backdrop. They then used 3D technology to model how the old castle and new castle would connect.
    One of the biggest challenges was finding a way to build on top of the existing castle while keeping the park open to visitors. The team landed on modular construction, which sees individual parts of a building, or "modules," constructed in a factory before being transported to the site. In this instance, the castle was built from 15 large parts, each prefabricated, painted and assembled off site. Individual towers and other components were then shipped in and craned into place over a period of three months.
    Together, the towers form a mosaic of cultures through color, symbols and patterns, with each offering different elements of their respective characters' worlds. Jasmine's fuchsia tower is embellished with an Arabic fabric pattern and crowned with a turquoise dome. Mulan's tower is embossed with a cherry blossom motif. And Merida's tower is replete with Celtic patterns, a reference to the four clans in the 2012 movie "Brave."
    Each tower culminates in a gold-tipped finial unique to each character: a golden seashell for Ariel and an enchanted rose for Belle. Meanwhile inside, guests will find 13 columns topped with details dedicated to the protagonists' friends, like Ariel's Flounder and Sebastian, Merida's triplet brothers and Moana's pet pig Pua and rooster HeiHei.
    continued next post
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  14. #179
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    continued from previous post


    Snow White's gold-tipped finial is in the shape of an apple -- the poisoned fruit that brought on a sleeping death. Credit: Courtesy Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
    "We're understanding different parts of the world, so we can't just focus on one group, or one princess or one location," said Pena. "Our stories continue to grow, and we get to learn about different cultures around the world. So how do we put that into the buildings and stories we try to tell?"
    The only direct depictions of the 14 heroines are found inside, where Imagineers designed bronze statues of each one. Their evolution -- from Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, whose lives rely on a man's kiss, to assured and empowered characters like Merida and Moana -- tells a story about how Disney has repositioned itself over the years. But even the older characters' statues have been designed with contemporary values in mind.
    "Instead of portraying them in a very submissive way, we portrayed them (all) as powerful women in a very engaging pose," said Amanda Chiu, a producer with WDI Asia, pointing to the depiction of Ariel standing proudly as she exercises her newfound freedom and Jasmine riding solo on the magic carpet.

    Bronze statues of princesses from "Beauty and the Beast" (1991) and "Moana" (2016) stand side by side in the new castle. Credit: Courtesy Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
    Local inspiration
    In line with the characters' origins, Imagineers drew inspiration from Europe, China and the Pacific Islands. "A European castle has one style and the same detailing everywhere," said Pena. "This one has different architectural styles -- even the domes are very different in style."
    It is fitting, perhaps, that such an eclectic castle exists in Hong Kong, one of Asia's more diverse cities. "Hong Kong is a city of rich cultural fabric and cultural diversity," said Chiu, who was born and raised in the territory.

    The bauhania flower detail appears throughout the castle's design. Credit: Courtesy Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
    As well as taking inspiration from around the world, Disneyland Hong Kong was also built according to the principles of feng shui, an important aspect of design and architecture in parts of Asia. Based on an ancient Chinese system, the ancient practice involves positioning objects or buildings in relation to one another and their surroundings to encourage happiness and good fortune. In 2005, for instance, the angle of the resort's front gate was shifted by 12 degrees in the belief that it would keep positive energy, or "chi," flowing through the park. Feng shui also informed the design of the new castle.
    "Feng shui is about the balance of the five elements," said Chiu, referring to wood, fire, earth, metal and water. "We want to draw on that harmony and apply that to castle."

    A gold seashell is the crowning feature atop Princess Ariel's tower. Credit: Courtesy Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
    Wood and earth are symbolized by the castle's landscaping -- a mix of living plants and artificial foliage -- which helps it blend in with its surroundings; fire will be used in pyrotechnic shows at night; metal can be found in the towers' gold finials; and water is used in the castle's moat and dancing fountains. "All of these elements come together in good harmony," Chiu added.
    While still rooted in tradition of sorts, Hong Kong's Castle of Magical Dreams nonetheless symbolizes Disney's attempts to modernize. With an increasingly global customer base, and several resorts in Asia, diversity might not just be a matter of values but good business, too.
    See any hidden mickeys?
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