The park will cost more, cover more area, and open later than was reported in March. Originally slated for 51 acres, USD 2 billion, and a January 2018 opening, the approved attraction will now cover 300 acres, cost USD 3.2 billion, and open a year later.
Universal Studios Beijing will "pay ‘proper homage to Chinese culture,’ said Tom Williams, chairman and CEO of Universal Parks & Resorts," whatever that means.
Universal Studios Beijing joins similar parks in Singapore and Tokyo. Both Disney and DreamWorks are building parks in Shanghai, with Disney’s set to open next year.
This isn’t Universal’s first foray into Beijing. Lao Beijingers will remember the Universal Studios Experience at Henderson Center in the late 1990s, which was designed to bring a bit of movie magic to central Beijing, but as a multimedia experience, not with theme park rides. Unfortunately, neither Henderson’s Jianguomennei location nor the attraction ever caught on, and as the mall died a slow and miserable death, so did the Universal Experience, its iconic Universal globe standing unlit and dusty for months before it was finally removed. Hopefully this new effort will meet with more success than that, or the recently-demolished ruins of Wonderland, for that matter.
This post first appeared on thebeijinger.com on October 14, 2014.