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September 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Time was when the major studios in Hollywood also either owned or controlled virtually every movie theater in America. That situation ended in 1948 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the practice violated the Sherman Antitrust Act and required the studios to divest themselves of their theater chains and end so-called block booking. But the rise of China’s Dalian Wanda Group could revive the issue on the international stage. On Sunday, billionaire Wang Jianlin, believed to be the richest man in China, announced that his company plans to built the world’s biggest movie studio in the city of Qingdao (aka Tsingtao — the city famous for its beer), an $8.2 billion complex to be called the Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis that will feature the largest soundstage in the world — 30,000 square feet — and an exhibition center that will feature theaters with 4,000 seats. Last year Wanda Group acquired the U.S. film chain AMC for $2.6 billion — an acquisition that could raise regulatory issues if the Qingdao studio begins funneling films to it — something Wang has indicated he intends to do. “There’s no single company in the whole world that has a big-scale production base, and at the same time has screening and distribution channels. Wanda Group is the first one in the world,” he said. Reports indicated that Wang plans to pair Western movie stars with Chinese directors and actors to produce films with an international appeal. Among those attending Wang’s announcement were Leonardo DiCaprio John Travolta, Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Forbes magazine reported that Wanda paid DiCaprio alone $2 million to appear at the event.