Universal Studios will open a new, multi-billion dollar theme park in Beijing on Sept. 20. The launch further strengthens its relationship with the communist regime. The theme park rests on 1,000 acres of land located 45 minutes from Beijing. It will reportedly be the largest park under the company’s management. The attractions at the park will include popular blockbuster franchises like Harry Potter and Jurassic Park.
“The Universal Beijing Resort opening will include the Universal Studios Beijing theme park, Universal CityWalk Beijing, and two extraordinary hotels, The Universal Studios Grand Hotel and the NUO Resort Hotel. Guests can enjoy blockbuster fun with immersive experiences in the largest Universal Studios at its opening, exploring 37 rides and attractions in the seven immersive themed lands of the park, as well as 24 shows and performances in the resort all day long,” stated the press release.
The park will implement a slew of measures as part of epidemic prevention and control measures. Visitors will be asked to provide verification of the Health Code and must take temperature checks at the entry point. Health Code is an app that displays whether an individual poses a COVID-19 contagion risk.
Within the park, guests are expected to wear facemasks and observe social distancing. They are also advised to bring backup masks and disinfectant tissues. Universal will conduct a trial operation of the resort between Sept. 1 and 19.
The grand opening day, Sept. 20, falls one day before China’s traditional mid-autumn festival holiday. Though the park’s final price tag has not been officially released, it is speculated to have cost $8 billion. Construction began in 2016, with the park getting strong support from CCP officials. The government even extended the main subway line in Beijing to the park.
Universal has a history of taking a soft, compliant stance towards the Chinese communist regime. The entertainment conglomerate has remained silent on controversial political and human rights issues.
At an investor’s conference in 2019, Universal Parks and Resorts Chairman and CEO Tom Williams stated that remaining silent on issues that Beijing considers a touchy subject is a key to doing business in communist China.
“You don’t start talking about the leadership in China. You would be crazy to bring up Hong Kong, Taiwan… You would never start talking that way. You just focus on what you are trying to do,” Williams said.
The studio recently came under the spotlight after WWE star and Hollywood actor John Cena apologized to the communist regime after he called Taiwan a “country” during an interview. Cena kowtowed to the authoritarian regime with an apology during the international promotion of the ninth “Fast and Furious” film.
“Universal had a vested interest in Cena’s apology. His act of contrition appears like a necessary PR move to protect one of the studio’s most valuable movie franchises. Fast & Furious movies have consistently grossed more money in China than any other country, including the U.S.,” states a Breitbart article.
The “Fate of the Furious,” released in 2017, collected 32 percent of its worldwide receipts from communist China; the U.S. only accounted for 18 percent of revenues. A spinoff movie, “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” which was released in 2019, collected over 26 percent of global box office revenue from China; the American box office made up 22 percent.