Dalian Wanda’s Hollywood Event Is Itself a Production
LOS ANGELES — The entire Hollywood press corps turned up. So did dozens of Chinese executives from the Beijing-based Dalian Wanda Group, some of whom were introduced as “special dignitaries.” Studio executives? Check. Leaders from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences? Grinning from the front row.
洛杉矶——整个好莱坞的记者团都到场了。总部位于北京的大连万达集团也派来了数十名中国高层人员，其中一些被介绍为“特邀嘉宾”。电影公司高层？来了。美国电影艺术与科学学院(The Academy of MotionPicture Arts and Sciences)的领导层？正在前排咧着嘴笑。
But why were there also four women in gold evening gowns serving as ushers and M.C.’s? And why was the “Star Wars” score used as part of the Monday affair, which was held to promote Wanda’s $5 billion studio complex in Qingdao as a home away from home for Hollywood?
The answer seemed to be: because Wanda wanted it that way.
And, at least for eager Hollywood executives hoping to tap into the fast-growing Chinese box office, that was answer enough. As the Motion Picture Association of America’s chief executive, Christopher J. Dodd, said in a video infomercial for the Qingdao complex that played as part of the event, “Any time an audience grows, everyone benefits.”
好莱坞的一些高管热切盼望着分享正在快速增长的中国票房，至少对他们来说，这个答案已经足够。正如美国电影协会(Motion Picture Association of America)首席执行官克里斯托弗·J·多德(Christopher J. Dodd)在为青岛影都录制的视频中所说，“每当观众人数出现增长，所有人都会受益。”
The 5 p.m. presentation, held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, began with remarks by Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the academy, an institution dedicated in part to celebrating artistic freedom.
这个活动于下午5点在洛杉矶县艺术博物馆(Los Angeles County Museum of Art)举行，学院主席谢丽尔·布恩·艾萨克斯(Cheryl Boone Isaacs)发表了讲话。鼓励艺术自由是该机构的工作之一。
“We have so much in common,” Ms. Boone Isaacs said of the Chinese and American film industries. “Art. Creativity. Conscience. Conviction. Just telling your story.”
Hollywood, of course, has been frustrated that Chinese censors restrict the flow of American films into China; only a few dozen foreign films are allowed to be exhibited annually. But Ms. Boone Isaacs kept it gauzy. “This art form, like an old-fashioned carousel, is at its best when it takes us around the world,” she said of cinema.
Next up: Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, who has made bolstering the movie industry a priority of his administration. Specifically, he has criticized the practice of studios moving production to other states and countries to take advantage of tax incentives and rebates. That, of course, is exactly the kind of runaway production funding that Wanda announced at Monday’s event.
Mr. Garcetti tried to have it both ways. After noting that efforts to bring back production have borne fruit, he said, “We also are not a place that closes in.” He added, “We will be strong about promoting Los Angeles as a place to film, but we will also be proud to make those international links that are core to our businesses growing.” With that, Mr. Garcetti introduced Wang Jianlin, Wanda’s chairman.
For his part, Mr. Wang spent most of his speech (delivered in Mandarin, with translation provided to the audience via headphones) highlighting the spectacular growth of the Chinese box office. Within a decade, he noted, China will not only far surpass the United States as a movie marketplace, it will control more than 40 percent of global ticket sales.
He got a round of applause when he said that American studios needed to “improve the quality” of their movies. “In the recent few years, perhaps because Hollywood movies are trying to minimize their risk, there are less original movies,” he said. After criticizing Hollywood’s over-reliance on special effects, he added, “Now that Chinese audiences are smarter, they do not so easily become happy.”
It was almost a wrap. But first came more details about the 40 percent rebate Wanda will offer studios for filming at its still-under-construction “movie metropolis” in Qingdao. Invited to the stage were executives from studios that had already signed up, including Lionsgate, Wanda-owned Legendary Entertainment, Arclight Films and Kylin Pictures.
差不多就这些了。但在结束之前，活动还谈到了更多的细节，关于万达将为前往仍在建设中的青岛影都拍摄电影的国际公司提供40%补贴。已经签约的电影公司包括Lionsgate、万达旗下的传奇娱乐、Arclight Films和Kylin Pictures，这些公司的高管被邀请到了台上。
As one of the women in gold gowns said in closing, “It’s very exciting!”