China’s booming theme park landscape welcomed yet another major player this month, as the “Dream Bund” movie studio and theme park made its grand debut in Hengdian, the country’s “City of Film and Television.” Dream Bund’s premiere is part of the continued expansion of the world’s largest film and television shooting site, notable for its collection of full-scale practical sets that include intricately crafted recreations of over a dozen iconic Chinese palaces and locales.
The new theme park, styled to evoke Shanghai’s iconic waterfront district during the first half of the 20th Century, has been uniquely designed to allow for concurrent operations of both its theme park attractions, and up to twenty film and television productions, at any given time. Scheduled to roll out in phases over the next year, highlights of the park’s opening day programme will include the signature Trolley Tour, a historical museum, and the Broadway Hotel, modelled after Shanghai’s iconic Broadway Mansions building.
Hollywood-based Legacy Entertainment, one of the world’s preeminent theme park and resort designers, was appointed by Hengdian World Studios to design and master plan the sprawling, 280,000 square meter project. Legacy has an impressive roster of previous, massive, and highly-successful Chinese projects, which have included Galaxy Macau, Studio City Macau, Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park, and Harbin’s Kingdom of Poseidon, among others.
Reflecting on the project’s unique challenges, Barry Kemper, partner and chief operating officer at Legacy Entertainment, said, “Capturing the inherent beauty and romance of Shanghai’s yesteryear was the easy part for us. Balancing the operational demands of both a movie studio and a theme park, each complex in and of itself, was not. We sincerely enjoyed our collaboration with Hengdian World Studios, as they are not only one of China’s best tourism operators, but their attention to detail is second to none in the market.”
The Dream Bund project was born out of a global demand by filmmakers to shoot film and TV productions along the Shanghai Bund, one of the world’s most recognisable locations. Other sections of the park will feature finelycrafted replicas of Nanjing Road, the Paramount Theater, and a Hutong neighbourhood, among many other iconic locales.