DreamWorks Takes on Disney with $3.1 Billion Shanghai Project

Seeking to rival the Broadway theater district in New York and the West End in London, DreamWorks Animation SKG recently announced plans to develop a $3.1 billion cultural and entertainment district in Shanghai.
August 13, 2012, 8am PDT | Andrew Gorden
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To be built along the shore of the Huangpu River in Shanghai, China, DreamWorks Animation SKG's $3.1 billion "cultural landmark" hopes to boost the firm's access to the lucrative Chinese media market, as well as China's media and cultural industries, while better balancing the nation's export-based economy with more at-home consumer spending.

David Barboza and Brooks Barnes, of The New York Times, report, "[t]he entertainment district is expected to be completed in 2016, at the same time that a $4.4 billion Disneyland theme park is set to open in Shanghai. The district will also house Oriental DreamWorks, a new $350 million joint venture animation studio that DreamWorks Animation has formed with its Chinese partners." In addition, the world's largest IMAX theatre, three Broadway-style theatres, smaller performance halls, restaurants, shops and an entertainment zone are planned for the development.

"The project is in many ways another example of Shanghai's ambitions," says the authors, "The city attracted 80 million visitors when it was host of the World Expo in 2010, and has spent billions of dollars on infrastructure, especially transit."

But where is funding for the massive $3.1 billion price tag to come from? Despite not working out funding, DreamWorks Animation's chief executive says there's "no reason for concern because the government and Chinese partners were enthusiastic and eager to build." If only it were that easy everywhere.

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Published on Tuesday, August 7, 2012 in The New York Times
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