Harking back to pre-Reform China, a Feng Xiaogang-themed resort and shopping center that has been named “Feng Xiaogang Film Commune (Feng Xiaognag dian ying gong she)” held its groundbreaking ceremony in Haikou, China on October 20, 2012.

Known for his success at making box office hits, Feng is a household name in China. Many of his films, such as The Banquet (2006), If You Are the One (2008), Aftershock (2010), and If You Are the One 2 (2010), have broken box office records for domestic films.

The idea of the film commune came to Feng when he was mourning over the fate of some gorgeous film sets that were torn down after shooting was done.  When he brought it up with his business friends, they immediately saw the potential for a large and lucrative business.

Huayi Brothers, or China’s Warner Brothers, agreed to invest in the film commune with the pioneer sports and leisure enterprise Million Hills Group. The partnership was announced in May 2012, three months after Feng broached the idea with them.

The film commune, whose first phrase costs US$158 m and is due to complete around the Chinese New Year in 2014, will have a total area of 230 acres with a building area of 157 acres (compared to the 800-acre Trump Studio City in Florida still under discussion). It will be China’s first movie-themed resort dedicated to a Chinese filmmaker.

Visitors to the site will find themselves at familiar places with familiar décor. Besides shops, restaurants, and hotels, there will also be a wedding planner that takes care of wedding parties like those in Feng’s movies.

Behind the scenes, five to six soundstages will be built as well. They will co-exist with the larger Mission Hill resort, which boasts world-class golf courses, luxury spas, and a premium shopping center by Lan Kwai Fong.

Huayi Brothers CEO WANG Zhongjun (left), film director FENG Xiaogang (middle), and Mission Hills CEO ZHU Dingjian (right) / source: Mission Hills Facebook gallery

The film commune is also translated as “Feng Xiaogang Movie-themed Town” by Mission Hills China’s Facebook page.