Subscribe to the APA Newsletter
Hong Kong Disneyland Opens; Tokyo Film Festival Debuts Project Market; UCLA Expands Operations in Shanghai; India-British Film Co-production Agreement in the Works; Weinstein Co.'s New Asia VP Hired. This and much more in the latest edition of News From Abroad.
The Mickey Mao Club
The long-awaited Hong Kong Disneyland finally opened its doors on September 12, 2005. The theme park is Disney’s second in Asia following Tokyo Disneyland, and the company hopes to attract tourists from all over the mainland and South East Asia. The opening was a general success with no major problems, though attendance was only about half of its 30,000 capacity. It is uncertain whether or not the park fixed some of the complaints that occurred during the pre-opening testing days of the park. In trial operating days, the at-capacity crowd often caused longer-than-expected lines for the attractions -- even the average dining time at park eateries was severely underestimated. The park is located on Lantau Island and occupies 126 hectares of land, with the possibility of later expansion. Similar to the original park in Southern California, the Hong Kong version is set around four magical lands: Main Street USA, Adventure Land, Fantasy Land, and Tomorrow Land. The project is a joint venture between the Walt Disney Company and the Hong Kong SAR government, with the HK government in control of 57%. With Hong Kong Disneyland’s success, the Walt Disney Company is already planning a mainland theme park in Shanghai.
Tokyo Film Festival Project Market
Kenta Fukasaku, writer-director of the cult-hit Battle Royale 2 is set to headline the project market of the Tokyo Film Festival. He will present his newest big-budgeted action film Elle is Burning during the project meeting between October 26 through 28. During the meeting, international distributors will be able to bid on 16 different Japanese productions for distribution rights. The projects will be presented on the first day with the other days set for negotiation. So far, six projects have been announced, with more to come as the date gets closer.
UCLA to Expand on its Merchandise Operation in Shanghai
In addition to being able to buy UCLA branded merchandise, Shanghai residents and other mainland Chinese will now be able to take classes in its prestigious film school. Hong Kong director Stanley Tong is teaming up with the University of California, Los Angeles film school to open a branch in Shanghai. The school will cost several hundred millions of Hong Kong dollars and is expected to be paid for by private investors. Tong hopes to attract top talent for both the student body and the faculty, aiming not exclusively at mainlanders, but internationally. Tong hopes the school will provide its students with experience and access to the film industries in Hollywood, Hong Kong, and mainland China.
Indian Co-production Agreement
An agreement between Great Britain and India regarding film co-productions is currently in the negotiation process in New Delhi. The meetings will take place concurrently on the sidelines of a summit meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The agreement, once signed, will allow both sides to take advantage of the respective talents of both countries.
Weinsteins Hire Kung Fu Expert...
The Weinstein Co. recently hired Bey Logan as their Vice President of acquisitions and co-productions for Asia. In this position, Logan will negotiate the Weinstein Co.’s cooperation in both first run and back catalogue releases from Asia. He was chosen because of his reputation, his past experience working in the Hong Kong film industry, and his numerous contacts within the business. Through Logan, the Weinsteins hope to expand Asian films’ awareness and presence internationally.
Increased ratings in the final days of Sony Entertainment Television’s reality television series Indian Idol have prompted the company to announce a second season in the works for the show. Ratings for the series opened at roughly 8.9 million viewers and ended its run at 14.6 million viewers. Only Star Plus’ Who Wants to Be a Millionaire was higher in ratings. The second season of Idol begins its casting in October, hitting cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow and Kolkata with first broadcasts set for December. Sony executives hope to see their ratings rise with the next season.
The Mongolian Cow Yogurt Super Girl Contest has picked its super girl winner. 21-year-old Sichuan native Li Yuchun was voted the winner by 3.52 million votes via mobile phones, giving the Chinese text messaging world a glimpse of democracy. As the winner, her prize is a television work contract and the opportunity to become a singing star. A Super Girl nation-wide concert tour is also scheduled to start on October 1st, in Chengdu, Sichuan. The show, heavily influenced by American Idol, pulls from 120,000 contestants, girls aged 16 and older, in singing competition. The contest is not under the reach of state-owned giant CCTV, but rather the privately owned Hunan Satellite Television. The show has become the television event of the year, topping even the CCTV broadcast Spring Festival Eve gala that regularly boasts an audience of 400 million viewers.
Date Posted: 9/22/2005