Looks like dreams do come true, at least they do for DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg. Last week we found out that DreamWorks, China Media Capital, and the Xuhui District Committee of CPC announced that the Xuhui District of Shanghai will become the headquarters of Oriental DreamWorks.
In the coming years, this new group will produce television and film content with Chinese cultural leanings, including the third installment of the popular Kung Fu Panda series, due in 2016.
The face of China has changed drastically over the past 30 years. I had the opportunity to travel to Shanghai a few years ago as I talked about in Episode 2 (And yes, I still like trees). China’s opened up a lot more to foreign businesses and has become a major force in the world. But even when I was there in 2007, there were a lot of things that needed to be cleaned up in the intellectual properties department. First step: they needed to acknowledge them. See this Youtube video for example. (I’ll be honest and say I will forever be sad I didn’t go).
Looks like China is beginning to come around though. Starting with the ground breaking of an actual Disneyland in Shanghai (My guess is that it’s probably a good 10 years before that is opens) and now DreamWorks is building a a multi-billion dollar entertainment and tourist destination called “The Dream Center” in the Xuhui Riverside area (the last waterfront area available for major development in downtown Shanghai according to the district). The Dream Center is set to open in 2016 and will be comprised of movie theaters, hotels, animation exhibits, shops, and restaurants, as well as the “Dream Walk”—the world’s largest IMAX screen. This is a 3.1 BILLION dollar deal that will have a huge impact on the globalization of the art form and for the local economy in Shanghai. You can read more about it here.
I’m excited to see how it all turns out from strictly a travel perspective, but also as the new animators at DreamWorks China cut their teeth on Kung Fu Panda 3 this will be a huge indicator on how the animation world is going to change over the next few years. One thing’s for sure: the animation industry is huge and is just going to keep growing.