SINGAPORE - Singapore is getting a slice of Hollywood glamour as it hots up as a film hub hosting glitzy movie premieres, location shoots and industry conferences.
This evening, it plays host to the South-east Asian premiere of Hollywood blockbuster, X-Men: Days Of Future Past. It will be the movie's only promotional pit stop in the region.
Held outside Shaw House along Orchard Road, the star-studded red carpet event will be graced by X-Men cast members Australian actor Hugh Jackman, Chinese actress-singer Fan Bingbing and Game Of Thrones star Peter Dinklage.
About 4,000 X-Men fans are expected to turn up at the cross-junction of Orchard and Scotts roads for the event. And 150 press members, including 70 from Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam, will be flown in for two days to cover the event.
At the gala premiere tonight, fans can take pictures of the X-Men stars as they walk down the red carpet, as well as stand a chance to win movie tickets and premiums.
Organiser Fox International is pulling out all the stops: 200 hotel rooms were booked at three five-star hotels in the Marina area to house the stars, press members and business associates.
The premiere also doubles as Fox studio's business conference, with more than 70 key Asia-Pacific cinema exhibitors flying in to attend the event at Shaw Lido cinema.
Tonight's film premiere makes it the second time in two months that Singapore is hosting a star-studded promotional pit stop in Asia. In March, stars of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Jamie Foxx were in town to celebrate Earth Hour and to drum up publicity for their show, which opened in theatres here on May 1.
Other promotional pit stops for the Spider-Man movie in Asia included China and Japan.
Before that, high-voltage movie premieres were fewer and farther between. In 2011, Canadian actor Seth Rogen was here with The Green Hornet co-star Jay Chou and director Michel Gondry for media interviews and to attend the movie's gala premiere.
And in 2001, Hollywood stars Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz graced a red-carpet event to promote the science- fiction thriller Vanilla Sky (2001).
A spokesman for Fox says it picked Singapore for the South-east Asian premiere because of its "highly modern setting and efficient infrastructure", making "a regional event such as this easier to facilitate".
Singapore as a choice location for such events means it is catching up with bigger cities in the region, such as Tokyo, Seoul and Hong Kong, which are often picked because of their stronger film market and long-established city image.
Mr Mike Wiluan, 37, chief executive of Singapore-based production company Infinite Studios, notes that the Republic has, of late, become a go-to destination for such events and film production because of "recent developments in infrastructure and lifestyle offerings".
World-class events such as the annual Formula 1 night race and the international entertainment acts which integrated resorts have been bringing in have helped boost Singapore's profile as an entertainment hub, he says.
"It's the easiest place to access the rest of Asia... and it is also a prominent financial capital in Asia. There are a lot of potential investors sitting in Singapore," says Mr Wiluan, who adds that the country has in the past decade become a good base from which to conduct business.