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Published December 2, 2006

Spielberg's DreamWorks adds another ace to Genting bid


(SINGAPORE) Malaysian casino group Genting has roped in DreamWorks - the movie animation company co-founded by legendary Hollywood director Steven Spielberg - to spice up its bid for the integrated resort (IR) on Sentosa.

Lim Kok Thay, chairman of Singapore-listed Genting International, told BT he has included plans for DreamWorks movie studios in his detailed proposal to the government.

'If people were generally impressed by James Cameron in the first bid, I would say Steven would blow everybody away, even more so,' Mr Lim said, after showing BT a video presentation of Mr Spielberg's endorsement of Genting's partnership with Universal for the Sentosa bid.

Hollywood director James Cameron was roped in by the Harrah's-Keppel Land consortium for the Marina Bay IR, which was eventually clinched by Las Vegas Sands.

In the presentation video to government officials this week, Mr Spielberg spoke of his involvement in the proposed digital studio and theme park components at Universal Studios Singapore: 'I'm particularly excited about the plans for the DreamWorks animation studios.'

In a statement to BT, DreamWorks said: 'The 1,400 square metre DreamWorks Digital Animation Studio at Universal Studios Singapore will give visitors a peek behind the scenes to learn how film animators use state-of-the-art computer technology to create some of today's most popular films.'

DreamWorks - responsible for such blockbusters as Madagascar, Shark Tale and Shrek 2 - uses the voices of big movie stars for its characters. For example, Shark Tale features Will Smith and Robert De Niro's voices.

Mr Spielberg, who has been a creative consultant to Universal Parks & Resorts for 18 years, will also help design the rides at the proposed theme park.

'Universal's parks are about more than just riding the movies,' he said. 'Because what we do so well at Universal is to put people inside incredible and timeless stories and make them superheros - these are the kinds of experience that create memories that can last a lifetime, and only Universal has the experience to bring them to life.'

The Genting-Universal partnership is one of three remaining bidders for the Sentosa IR project. The other contenders are CapitaLand-Kerzner and Eighth Wonder.

All of them have pledged to spend more than S$5 billion. Genting, which failed to clinch the Marina Bay project, is widely seen as a front-runner. The winner is expected to be announced this month.