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Wanda Beckons Hollywood With Hefty Subsidy

Wang Jianlin, China's richest man, courted Hollywood's studios and stars at a gala on Monday night, where he was expected to announce a 40 percent production subsidy to lure filmmakers to his new movie studio in East China.

The 61-year-old billionaire chairman of international real estate firm Dalian Wanda Group was hosting the invitation-only gala at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti were expected to be attending.

Funding for the subsidy would come from Wanda and the regional government in Qingdao, Shandong province, site of the $8.2 billion studio that is expected to be completed in 2018.

It will apply to makers of films and television shows. The subsidy was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter last week.

Rental equipment, set construction and accommodations will be eligible for the production subsidy, according to Reuters.

The subsidy "has the potential to be game-changing for film and television production in China", said Marc Ganis, co-founder of US distributor Jiaflix, which does business in China.

"China has attracted non-domestic movie productions with the intent of tapping into the Chinese box office in a more meaningful way. But it has attracted far less of film and TV production that is not focused on revenues and audiences from China," he said.

Places like Canada, the UK and several states in the US are popular shooting locations because of shooting incentives, which have created additional jobs and given technical crews experience, which creates a "sustainable, ongoing industry", Ganis said.

The 408-acre Qingdao Movie Metropolis has 15 completed stages and 11 production workshops, including one of the world's largest soundstages, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The sequel to the 2013 Pacific Rim will be the first American film to shoot at the studio.