Hollywood stars turn out for China's new 'cinema city'

Hollywood stars turn out for China's new 'cinema city'
British actress Kate Beckinsale speaks with actor Leonardo DiCaprio as they attend the launch ceremony of the Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis on the outskirts of Qingdao, Shandong province on Sept 22, 2013.

QINGDAO, China - Nicole Kidman, Leonardo DiCaprio and John Travolta on Sunday added their star power to the glitzy inauguration of the ambitious "Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis", billed as China's answer to Hollywood.

China's richest man Wang Jianlin and his conglomerate Wanda Group have poured 50 billion yuan ($8.3 billion) into the sprawling complex in the city of Qingdao. Construction has already started but the complex will only be operational from 2016.

Wang told a lavish and star-studded ceremony that the development was part of China's bid to ramp up its "cultural power" on the world stage.

Sprawling across 376 hectares (900 acres) on the outskirts of the eastern port city famous for its beer, the "Movie Metropolis" will have 20 studios including what is billed as the world's largest.

It should produce "at least a hundred films a year", according to the Wanda Group, which says it has reached preliminary agreements to ensure that 30 foreign films will be shot there each year.

Local film stars were joined on the red carpet by some of the stars of Hollywood - the institution Wang is looking at rivalling.

Kidman and others were joined by fellow A-listers Catherine Zeta-Jones and Ewan McGregor, while Chinese cinema stars Zhang Ziyi and Xu Zheng were also in attendance.

Apart from the complex on display Sunday, the development will also feature a vast public space with a waxworks display, an exhibition centre including a 3,000-seat theatre and a shopping centre with seven hotels.

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