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Movie lover. Growing Capoeirista. Space enthusiast. Dedicated craftsman. And best of all, homegrown Los Angeles native. Wait, how in the hell did I end up in China!?
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A New Post Has Just Been Added!
The World’s Biggest Movie Studio Isn’t in the US—It’s in China, and it’s Called Hengdian World Movie Studios.
America may be home to the world’s largest movie industry, but it sure ain’t home to the world’s biggest movie studio. That record belongs to China, and more specifically, to Hengdian World Movie Studios, located in Donyang, Zhejiang Province, only a few hours out of Shanghai.
You heard right—the biggest. Established in 1996, Hengdian World Movie Studios has staked its place at the forefront of TV and film production—over 1,200 films and TV series shot at its location since inception, from local gigs to foreign releases, according to its website—in China.
The 2500+ acre studio, once a small farmland, boasts of soundstages and 13 elaborate sets that resemble—and some, even scaled to the T—famous historical landmarks and periods of ancient China, from Beijing’s Forbidden City to the Imperial Courts of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, historical folk houses and cultural gardens to the Xianyang Palace of Emperor Qin.
Ever see the Chinese martial arts masterpiece Hero (2002) starring Jet Li? You should have, after all, it was one of China’s most expensive and highest grossing films at the time of its release.
Remember when Jet Li’s character (Spoiler Alert!) made the decision not to assassinate the emperor, and strolled out of the palace surrounded by imperial guards, only to be slain by a barrage of arrows? That was filmed at Hengdian.
Other notable films and TV series shot at Hengdian include The Forbidden Kingdom, War Against the Bandits, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, and The Story of Yanxie Palace.
Xu Wenrong, founder of Hengdian Group, expressed that before establishing Hengdian World Studios, he simply wanted to develop a way to promote tourism to Donyang.
In the end, he decided to build a film studio to draw in tourists, and overtime, Hengdian became a driving force of promoting Chinese culture and heritage.
Today, it’s become China’s mirror of Hollywood—‘China-wood’, as it’s been dubbed.
And like Hollywood, Hengdian has become a popular film-related attraction, and theme park, of China that millions of people travel thousands of miles across the world to see. Think, Universal Studios of the East.
Every set is accessible. You can take film tours or, better yet, star in your own flick. You can snap photos in costumes from popular Chinese TV dramas and films or watch live entertainment shows. You can hop on a fun amusement ride or get splashed at a water park.
Truthfully, you might want to visit to check out the scenery. They may primarily serve as sets, but Hengdian’s vast collection of stunning ancient Chinese buildings are 100x more awe-inspiring against Donyang’s beautiful mountainous backdrop.
In essence, if you love movies as much as I do, that’s why you should see it. If you’re attracted to Chinese culture and its historical periods, that’s why you should make the trip.
And if you just love to travel and explore off-beaten paths around the world, well, that’s the perfect excuse to book your next trip to Hengdian World Movie Studios, the world’s biggest movie studio!
Safe & happy travels!
Watch a video of my 1st trip to Hengdian World Movie Studios below!
Travel Blogger. ESL Teacher. Optimistic Millennial Adventurer! -->
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