August 8, 2012
When you take the kids or nieces to see Kung Fu Panda 3 in a few years look for the "Made in China" label.
DreamWorks Animation (NYSE: DWA ) unveiled an ambitious foray into the world's most populous nation this week, creating an animation studio and entertainment district that will dramatically enhance the studio's brand in China.
A consortium of Chinese companies will hold a majority stake in the Oriental DreamWorks joint venture. That will come as welcome news to DreamWorks Animation investors wondering how the studio would bankroll the roughly $3 billion investment on its own. It won't. DreamWorks Animation will retain a 45% interest in the Shanghai project.
Unlike Disney (NYSE: DIS ) which is building a theme park in Shanghai, this won't be a gated attraction. Many of the earlier media reports mistakenly categorized the project as a theme park. Plans for the entertainment complex include establishing the world's largest IMAX (NYSE: IMAX ) theater alongside shops, restaurants, and hotels. The Dream Center will open in 2016, coinciding with the release of Kung Fu Panda 3.
DreamWorks Animation has already been establishing itself in China. It teamed up with Youku.com (NYSE: YOKU ) -- the country's top video website -- to offer its computer-rendered flicks as premium streams last summer.
Animation has been a reliable export over the years. Disney knows it, and DreamWorks Animation is finding that out, too.
On with the show
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