Aug 04, 2016

    Wanda Movie Park shuts down for 'upgrading'


    CHINESE billionaire Wang Jianlin's Wanda Movie Park in Wuhan, Hubei province, "temporarily" closed for "upgrading" on Sunday, Dalian Wanda Group said.

    The move comes just 19 months after the park opened.

    About 400 visitors turned up at the 100,000 sq m park on its last day, Chutian Metropolis Daily reported.

    The park had input from special effects teams that produced films Avatar and Transformers.

    It cost 3.8 billion yuan (S$770 million) to construct.

    "The purpose of the closure is to upgrade the experience for visitors," Wanda said on Monday. It did not say when the park would reopen.

    Since its opening on Dec 20, 2014, the Wanda Movie Park had received an estimated average of about 1,000 visits a day, far from its capacity of between 8,000 and 10,000.

    According to local newspaper reports, the opening day encountered occasional malfunctions and sound-effect problems.

    Frequent management changes were also said to have contributed to the poor operation of the park.

    Tang Jun, vice-president of Wanda Culture Group who was former vice-president of Walt Disney China, stepped down shortly after the opening of the park, which he oversaw.

    One of the park's visitors, Wang Lin, a Wuhan native in her 30s, said the Wanda Movie Park lacked innovative ideas and interactive features despite its occasional use of high technology in the rides.

    The long waiting lines and short ride durations made the experience even worse, she added.

    Mr Wang, one of China's richest men, has laid down a challenge to the Disney theme parks, saying he aims to open 15 of his parks in China by 2020 and five overseas.

    He added that the Disney parks would be no match for his "wolf pack" of parks.