Shanghai Disneyland opens as CEO says China has 'incredible potential'
Shanghai Disney Resort celebrated the global premiere of the first Mandarin production of Disney’s THE LION KING Tuesday night in a gala affair at the Walt Disney Grand Theatre. The premiere launched the Grand Opening festivities for the new resort, which officially opens on June 16. A red carpet entry to the new theatre welcomed celebrities, luminaries and Julie Taymor, the Tony-award winning director of the original Broadway production of THE LION KING. Credit: Disneyland Shanghai.

Shanghai Disneyland opens as CEO says China has ‘incredible potential’

SHANGHAI — Disney CEO says China represents “incredible potential” and this week’s opening of Shanghai Disneyland offers the entertainment giant a chance to boost its brand in the world’s most populous film market.

Bob Iger said Wednesday that the company’s first theme park in mainland China is designed to be “authentically Disney” but also “distinctly Chinese.”

Shanghai Disneyland will hold its official opening on Thursday. It is expected to draw huge crowds of increasingly affluent Chinese.

Disney movies including “The Lion King” and “Frozen” are popular in China, but Iger said the theme park will create a stronger connection to Chinese consumers.

The $5.5 billion park will face competition from China’s own young but ambitious entertainment brands and Disney also faces potential hurdles due to official controls and censorship.