RatPac Entertainment, the Hollywood movie outfit owned by Australian casino mogul James Packer is currently filming a casino-themed movie directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Hollywood actors, Robert de Niro, Brad Pitt, and Leonardo DiCaprio. Except for Brad Pitt, de Niro and DiCaprio are known Scorsese favorites, including the film’s scriptwriter Terrence Winter, who also wrote the screenplay for the highly acclaimed 2013 movie “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
However, the powerhouse team is doing only a short film exclusively for Melco Crown Entertainment’s cinema-themed hotel, mall, and gaming complex called Studio City in Cotai, Macau. The film will have its premiere showing at the opening of the Melco-Crown owned property next year and mainly for promotional purposes.
Melco-Crown Entertainment is a joint venture company formed in 2007 by Laurence Ho of the Hong Kong-based Melco International Development Limited and Australian billionaire James Packer.
The company took control of the Macau Studio City development in 2011, by acquiring 60 percent share of the original Studio City developer. As co-chairman, Ho had announced that Melco-Crown would invest USD1.7 billion in order to revive the project and to pick up where the former developers left off in constructing Studio City, with 2015 as the new target year of completion.
Now that the hotel-casino complex is preparing for a 2015 opening, filming of the RatPac casino-themed movie will be a means of promoting and showcasing Studio City. The Ho-Packer company is apparently not leaving any stones unturned, in making sure that Studio City will be a great attraction for the mass market once visitors start pouring in by the summer of 2015. Accordingly, Studio City has the appeal of a multifaceted tourism destination in which the key features include a shopping mall, a five-star hotel and a casino with 500 gaming tables and more than 1,500 slot machines.
Reports have it that the Cotai Strip in Macau is spurring new growth and that Studio City has the best strategic location, being directly adjacent to the Lotus Bridge. The latter connects Cotai to mainland China and to a proposed station for the new intercity light rail that will likewise be operational next year. The demographic focus of Studio City is a turnaround to the Macau business approach of catering primarily for the high-roller market. The design and offerings of the cinema-themed commercial complex is more in line with the Macau government’s plans of diversifying, by shifting into becoming a leisure and tourism destination to where the mass-market segment will gravitate.
The Scorsese, De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt promotional movie for Studio City has stirred a lot of excitement, when filming began last Sunday in New York. RatPac Entertainment explained to newsmen that the short film is exclusively for use of Melco-Crown to promote the opening of the Macau-based hotel casino complex, as well as for supporting “the company’s expansion in Asia and globally.”
Regardless of the film’s purpose, Melco Crown achieved an unprecedented feat of bringing together one of Hollywood’s renowned director and three of the most bankable names in the U.S. movie industry.