Arab ‘Transformers’ on Chinese marquees

Gary Sinise will perform in a Virginia fundraiser.
Gary Sinise will perform in a Virginia fundraiser.
Posted: May 23, 2012

The whole world is going Hollywood.

But is this a good thing?

Florida-based Digital Domain Media Group, the special-effects company that brought the “Transformers” movies and the Tupac Shakur hologram to life, is setting up a studio in oil-rich Abu Dhabi.

The deal signed Monday between Digital Domain and Abu Dhabi’s government-backed twofour54 deepens the Emirati capital’s ties to Hollywood as it accelerates its efforts to become a media hub.

Digital Domain plans to establish an animation, visual-effects and motion-capture studio and a media school in Abu Dhabi as part of the deal. The wealthy emirate is providing $100 million in grants for the project.

So, now we won’t only be dependent on the Mideast for our gas, but for our CGI.

Digital Domain expects to begin hiring immediately and start work at the studio by early next year. Over time, it plans to employ about 500 people in Abu Dhabi.

Digital Domain, co-founded by filmmaker James Cameron (“Avatar”) in 1993, has studios in Los Angeles; San Francisco; Florida; Vancouver, Canada; Mumbai; and London, and is setting up operations in Beijing.

Abu Dhabi also set up a company in 2008 to partially bankroll Hollywood films.

And where will those Hollywood films financed by Arabs play?

In movie theaters owned by the Chinese.

Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group Co. said Monday that it will buy AMC Entertainment Holdings for $2.6 billion to create the world’s biggest movie-theater operator.

Wanda said that AMC’s headquarters will remain in the Kansas City, Mo., area, and that daily operations will remain unchanged.

With so much foreign investment, it’s not going to be long before conservatives long for the days when liberals ran Hollywood.

TATTBITS

Tattle’s favorite transgender beauty-pageant contestant Jenna Talackova did not win Miss Universe Canada, although she did finish in the Top 12.

Potential crisis averted.

Gary Sinise is keeping a promise to help raise money for Virginia Marine Cpl. J.B. Kerns, who lost his limbs in Afghanistan.

Sinise, who played disabled Vietnam War vet Lt. Dan in “Forrest Gump” is set to perform with his band Lt. Dan in Martinsville, Va., on Thursday.

Country singer Alan Jackson has raised more than $150,000 with a benefit concert to help Louisa County, Va., rebuild schools damaged by last year’s earthquake.

Stephen Bogart, the oldest child of actors Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, is helping to raise money to renovate part of the Malabar Farm, in Ohio, where the pair married in 1945.

The farm is now part of a state park.

Artist Takeshi Miyakawa was arrested in New York after someone called the bomb squad while he was setting up a public display.

The display’s theme: “I Love New York.”

The caller reported a suspicious package attached to a tree early Saturday. Police found Miyakawa standing on a ladder with a box, wires, a plastic bag and a battery.

Miyakawa was arraigned on charges of reckless endangerment and placing “a false bomb or hazardous substance.”

His lawyer, Deborah J. Blum, calls the arrest a “gross misunderstanding.” n

—Daily News wire services contributed to this report.

Email gensleh@phillynews.com.

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