Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Breaking News: Universal Studios Beijing Investment Doubled to $6.5 Billion, the Biggest Budget Ever For a Theme Park! Plus: New Artworks of Each Land of the Park!

We have BIG news and new artworks for the awaited Universal Studios Beijing theme park opening in 2021! Let's start by the major news as it was announced that "Universal Parks & Resorts and its Chinese partners are expanding plans for the 300-acre theme park in Beijing, and they are doubling their investment to $6.5 billion on heightened optimism about the booming Chinese theme-park market. The previously announced budget was $3.26 Billion, so the new $6.5 Billion investment is really the double. "

And not only it is the double but it also means that the new investment will surpass the one of Disney for Shanghai Disneyland Resort, which in 2016 cost more than $5.5 billion! Universal Studios Beijing budget will be the most ever spent on a theme park at the time of opening, according to industry experts, and “It would be the first time Disney has been outspent on a theme-park project,” said to WSJ Dennis Speigel, who heads a theme-park consulting firm in the U.S. More excerpts of the WSJ article below.

The success of Shanghaî Disneyland is the reason why they took the decision to double down on Universal Studios Beijing as Shanghai Disneyland had more than 11 million visitors in its first year. Universal now expects the Beijing park to draw 10 million visitors in its first year, up from an initial projection of 7 million.

The increased investment will go toward expanding retail and entertainment space, improving planned attractions and building new lands including one based on the Harry Potter books and films, and the park will also have attractions based on Transformers, Minions and Kung Fu Panda film franchises, which have strong followings in China. Universal has continued to expand ambitions for the Beijing park since its announcement and hiring is on schedule, one person said, adding that new plans include a CityWalk shopping, dining and entertainment district adjacent to the park as well as a Universal-branded hotel. Although design work has begun and land has been cleared, major construction hasn’t yet started but is expected to begin this year, people familiar with the matter said.

At the time of the 2014 announcement, only a preliminary agreement was in place between the partners, the first person said. The joint venture was established in 2017, after more than three years of talks, that person said, adding to delays. For the Beijing park, Universal is partnering with Beijing Shouhuan Cultural Tourism Investment Co., owned by five Chinese companies. To pay for the park, the partners took out an almost $4 billion syndicated loan to cover about 60% of the costs, said the first person, adding it was believed to be the world’s largest syndicated loan for theme-park construction. Nine Chinese banks participated in the loan, but because the duration of the loan is 25 years, no foreign banks participated.

The move comes as China’s theme-park industry is on track to surpass that of the U.S.’s in the next few years to become the world’s No. 1 market. Theme-park revenue in China topped $6 billion last year, up 27% from 2016, and is expected to hit $14 billion by 2022, according to market researcher Mintel. Full article on Wall Street Journal HERE.

Now, here are the new renderings showing the lands and these were posted on a China blog and re-posted on Themeparx.com by Michael, and as the only artwork available so far was the bird eye view released during the 2014 announcement, these new renderings are precious to have a closer look at the main lands of Universal Studios Beijing. Apparently these are coming from a video which is hard to find, so if any of you succeed to locate the video from where they're coming from, please send me a message or the link in the comments.

The first renderings above and below shows the big hotel at the park entrance.

Let's move inside the park and, yes, Universal Studios Beijing will have a Wizarding World of Harry Potter and it looks like it'll be exactly like the one at IOA, USH or USJ, with the Hogwarts Castle and Hogsmeades Village, and the Flight of the Hippogriff coaster can be seen on the right - at least it was planned at the time the artwork was done, we'll see if it will be replaced by the new coaster coming this year at Islands of Adventure. No doubt that the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey "E-Ticket" attraction will be part of the Potter land.

Next is what seems to be a Transformers land with a giant 36 feet tall Optimus Prime at the center of the land. No doubt too that the popular Transformers ride will be part of the land...

...and it seems that the Hulk coaster has also been transformed with a new theme- may be a Transformers theme, this is due most probably because Universal own the rights for the use of Marvel super-heroes only for Universal parks in Orlando or any park located in the U.S "East of the Mississippi", but not for China.

Next is a Jurassic World land and it'll be very interesting to see what version of the ride will go in it now that we know that Universal will make an announcement in the coming days about the Jurassic Park lands in the U.S, with expected upgrades of the rides.

One thing is sure: there will be roaring dinosaurs!

Probably located not too far from the Jurassic World land, like they did at Universal Studios Singapore the park will have a Waterworld stunt show, always popular even if the film was one of Hollywood biggest flops.

A Despicable Me land with the popular Minions will also be part of Universal Studios Beijing. Looks like a coaster structure on the top but i wouldn't bet on it, it could be only a decor element...

Just like Shanghaî Disneyland Universal Studios Beijing will pay tribute to China and its lovable Pandas with a Kung-Fu Panda attraction and land.

There is more and if you have a closer look at the left of the rendering below you'll see that a Volcano Bay water park seems to be envisioned for Universal Beijing. Don't put all your bets on it, though, as this is typically the kind of bird eye view rendering released at the start of a project, and Beijing weather is closer to the one of Paris than the one of Orlando, meaning that temperatures are cold or cool during at least six months...

Yep, i know, the close up image below on the Volcano Bay area is blurred, but that's the best i could have...

As said in the latest news a City Walk will be added for more shopping, dining and entertainment...

...and eventually more hotels, if this rendering below doesn't show a real estate development as for sure there will be some around the park.

I'm not sure that all the lands or attractions of Universal Studios Beijing were unveiled here as there might be more from what we could see on the original first rendering released in 2014, so stay tuned to D&M for more about this. In the meantime here are more pics found and posted by Michael on Themeparx.com, starting by a view of the land which is cleared for more vertical works anytime soon.

And the last pictures below shows renderings of the upcoming new transit station for Universal Studios Beijing, the one that most of you will probably exit from or enter when you'll visit the park.

Pictures: copyright Universal Studios Beijing

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