Hollywood-Themed Studio City Officially Opens Bringing New Era of Thrilling …

27 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

DiCaprio finds joy in Macau project with De Niro, Scorsese.

MACAU (AP) — Leonardo DiCaprio says being able to work with his two cinematic father figures on a short film commissioned for the opening of a Macau casino resort was “a slice of heaven.” He spoke in the Asian gambling mecca ahead of Tuesday’s debut of “The Audition,” which also stars Robert De Niro and was directed by Martin Scorsese, who also attended the press briefing. “To be able to have scenes with Bob and being directed by Marty is a small slice of heaven for me as an actor,” DiCaprio said.Australian billionaire James Packer was all smiles as he walked the red carpet tonight, hand in hand with his singing sensation girlfriend Mariah Carey at the official opening of his new $US3.2 billion casino resort in Macau. Mariah Carey will headline a star-studded opening ceremony for the Hollywood-themed Studio City resort, Melco Crown’s third in the southern Chinese territory, the only place in the country where casino gambling is legal. The new casino resort, Studio City, is Hollywood-themed and Hollywood glamour was certainly in Macau tonight as black limousines, carrying Hollywood’s elite, lined the casino strip.

Packer and DiCaprio shared a close word as they posed for a group photo, with De Niro, dressed in a suit and khaki cap, clutching wife Grace Hightower. The casino’s ability to draw such star power attests to the rising influence of the special Chinese region, which has grown into the world’s top gambling market. Mr Packer said his father sowed the seeds for Crown’s push into Macau, the world’s largest gambling hub, in 2004 as China looked to open up its only legal gambling jurisdiction to international competition.

Scorsese described the film as “reality-based with some humor.” The plot has DiCaprio and De Niro invited to Macau by Scorsese to compete for the same part in a movie. The glamorous ceremony premiered 15-minute short film The Audition, partly shot at the cinematic-themed casino, and starring the Hollywood heavyweights. Studio City brings a new element to the city in terms of non-gaming amenities, but analysts say its opening will not change the industry’s gloomy outlook. “Until the macro situation is resolved, it is unlikely that new property openings no matter from which operator will add significantly to industry revenues,” said Michael Ting, analyst at CIMB Securities in Hong Kong.

But the celebrities were kept away from the prying eyes of the media in the lead-up to the event, including tight security detail shielding DiCaprio from photographers at Packer’s nearby City of Dreams casino on Monday. “Let’s assume that we can run the ads for three years, it’s 11 million bucks a year for what will be I think the most famous marketing campaign in the world,” he said. “Nothing is a certainty, but if you build something and you try and make it the best, and you really do try and make it the best, and when it goes over budget you say okay we’ll let it go over budget because we have to, to make it the best, you get nervous,” he said. Melco received permission to operate 250 gaming tables, more than the 150 tables predicted by analysts but less than the 400 tables Melco had requested from the government. And there are not that many.” Mr Packer also revealed Melco Crown has yet to recoup its sunk investments in Macau by instead pouring profits back into new casinos which he said is at odds with the other five concessions operating in Macau. Lawrence Ho, the head of Studio City operator Melco Crown Entertainment, which Mr Packer’s Crown Resorts has a 34 per cent stake in, gave full credit to Mr Packer for The Audition, saying who else could put together the biggest Hollywood stars and best director for 15 minutes of what he calls “the best content ever filmed”.

Mr Packer confirmed its Barangaroo casino on Sydney’s harbour would not open until late 2020 and said he was concerned it was falling behind in the development schedule. “It is important that we now get started on it,” he said. “Since we announced Sydney we have announced Las Vegas and Melbourne. Since opening in May, Galaxy has grown its market share among the six Macau operators, even though it posted a 29 percent revenue drop for the third quarter. He added that if that figure was correct and the film was used over three years, that would equate to around an annual $11m spend for the company, which he hinted was good value.

Tonight’s event will also see Ms Carey, who was wearing a long sleeved, long black dress, perform four songs in a performance rumoured to have cost in the “high six figures”.

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