China’s Richest Man Aims To Rival Hollywood

photo_1380006393606-1-HD.jpg

Crews, who will start interior demolition in the next few weeks, will transform the roughly 26,000-square-foot former NASCAR Cafe building into a two-story wax museum plus two, yet-to-be-named smaller attractions that will round out the planned entertainment center. Visitors will be able to pose with wax figures of celebrities, though no word yet on the stars who will be part of the Myrtle Beach wax lineup. Hollywood Wax Museum debuted on Hollywood Boulevard in February 1965 with life-size wax figures of celebrities and has been owned by the same family since then. The Myrtle Beach museum would be the fourth in the United States; the other two are in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and Branson, Mo. We are pleased to work in partnership with Burroughs & Chapin on bringing the world-famous Hollywood Wax Museum to Myrtle Beach, said Tej Sundher, whose grandfather founded the original Hollywood Wax Museum. We know this beautiful city is a great match for our project and look forward to becoming part of the community. The attraction — which initially wanted to feature a Mount Rushmore on one side and the well-known Hollywood sign on other side of the buildings outside, as well as shooting stars around its sign — had to tone down the dramatic exterior presence to get the blessing of the citys Community Appearance Board, which must OK the signs, landscaping and building exteriors of new development. The current, stripped-down design features a large King Kong scaling a skyscraper not to exceed 80 feet high; the other elements were removed. The Hollywood Wax Museum is a fantastic addition to Myrtle Beach and Broadway at the Beach, said Patrick Walsh, senior vice president of asset management with Burroughs & Chapin Co. Inc., which owns the spot where Hollywood Wax Museum will operate and Broadway at the Beach, the bulk of which sits across U.S. 17 Bypass from the planned museum. Since this will be the only Hollywood Wax Museum in the Carolinas, we are confident that our visitors will be thrilled with the celebrity figures and interactive nature of the museum. The attraction brings life to a high-profile building that has sat empty for more than five years, though renovations started a few years ago on a Pat Boone theater that never materialized.

“There is a huge gap in the skills which remain between China’s film industry and Hollywood.” While Beijing is aware of the importance of using its “soft power” overseas, the state tightly controls the film industry and cuts any subject matter that might be politically sensitive. Rarely do domestic movies attract an international audience — and even Chinese moviegoers have shown lukewarm interest in local offerings. Although a quota of just 34 foreign films can be shown in the country each year, these made up more than half of Chinese box office sales last year. However, the first half of 2013 showed a reversal. Ticket sales for Chinese films more than doubled those of the same period the year before, surpassing foreign films for the first time in five years. At the end of June the Chinese movie “Tiny Times”, which depicted the daily life of wealthy Chinese youth, defied expectations by overtaking Hollywood blockbuster “Man of Steel”. But its international success remains in question. Chinese movies deserve attention if only because the number of moviegoers is so large, said Hawk Koch, a former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which runs the Oscar awards. “Given the box office in China, the fact that China is going to become the number one box office in the world, we have to pay attention,” he said. But to merit more critical attention, he added, the sector needs “more personal movies that touch people”. “China is kind of known for kung fu movies and action movies, and I think that, in order to be known seriously in the world, they would have to make more intimate movies,” he said.