Real estate mogul and China’s richest man, Wang Jianlin, is on a mission to eliminate Disney’s presence in China. That mission hit a bit of a snag earlier this week with the closure of Wanda’s flagship movie theme park, which was opened just 18 months ago.
Dalian Wanda recently released a company statement, notifying everyone that their 3.8 billion yuan ($572 million) Wanda Movie Park would be closed starting July 31st, due to “renovation and upgrade works to better serve our guests with better quality content, as well as with a brand new experience.”
Watch out Mickey!
The park, located in Wuhan, was definitely in need of some freshening up, it had been performing poorly since opening, with a reliable decrease in the number of visitors month after month. Apparently, visitors have not been impressed by the park’s “Top ten features in the world,” which include:
1) The world’s only indoor Movie Park
2) Architect masters make use of the world’s top technology in designing the cultural and environmentally friendly building
3) The world’s top three screens
4) The world’s most exciting and safe indoor theme park
5) Special effects team for 500 Hollywood films join in production of original for the first time for China
6) The master piece by the world’s largest 41 Oscar creative force
7) The world’s strongest paradise designer “FORREC” exclusive design with patent
8) The world’s largest 5D ultimate energy hall with 500 seats
9) The world’s largest flight riding theme area with 144 seats
10) The world’s first interactive 3D shooting facilities with 120 interactive seats and competition with fun
Place sounds like a blast! Too bad it’s closed.
In May, Wang promised to squash Mickey under the weight of all the less expensive theme parks he was planning to build across the country by 2020.
“They [Disney] shouldn’t have entered China. We have a [saying]: one tiger is no match for a pack of wolves. Shanghai has one Disney, while Wanda, across the nation, will open 15 to 20,” Wang said. “Disneyland is fully built on American culture. We place importance on local culture.”
His first non-movie theme park opened later that month in Nanchang. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Wang did not mention Disney by name, but said that he hated how Chinese people “fawned over Western imports.”
“Chinese culture led in the world’s for 2,000 years, but since the last 300 years, because of our lagging development and the invasion of foreign cultures, we have more or less lacked confidence in our own culture,” Wang said. “We want to be a model for Chinese private enterprise, and we want to establish a global brand for Chinese firms.”
The very next day, Captain America and Snow White were spotted taking pictures with visitors outside of the newly-opened Wanda World. Oops!
Well, if Wang does end up losing his war with Disney, guess he’ll just have to fall back on buying all the things.
By Robin Winship