The countdown is over, Melco Crown Entertainment’s (MCE) $3.2 billion cinematically-themed leisure resort and casino, Studio City, celebrated its grand opening today in what marked the beginning of a “new era” for Macau and Asia, according to MCE CEO Lawrence Ho at the event’s launch.

The culmination of a 14 month period of extreme highs and lows experienced by the region’s casino market, the last few weeks have included a steady stream of news  surrounding the opening of the Cotai Strip facility including the Macau government granting Studio City 250 gaming tables, the unveiling of the Studio City Events Center and MCE’s change in marketing strategy to a more family-friendly vacation destination. In addition, the exclusion of junket rooms at Studio City was a “business decision” driven mainly by the government’s new-to-market table allocation for the gaming property, according to a co-chairman of MCE at the grand opening today.

However, the lack of VIP junket rooms will no doubt be overshadowed by the Hollywood elite who made appearances at today’s opening including Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and director Martin Scorsese. Brad Pitt who was unable to attend, along with the other two actors, starred in “The Audition,” a 15-minute short film directed by Martin Scorsese made to commemorate the launch. In addition, Pop diva Mariah Carey was scheduled to perform at the opening.

Features of Macau’s Studio City

o Hotel – offers over 1,600 rooms including the Celebrity Tower and the all-suite Star Tower with 600-plus suites
o RiverScape Spa – a meandering pool area complete with waterfalls and a man-made beach, including Aqua Play, a pool for kids
o Golden Reel – the world’s highest figure-8 Ferris wheel
o The House of Magic – a 3-theater arena including two 150-seat parlor magic theaters and a 300-seat main theater where renown illusionist Franz Harary hosts the electrifying “Mega Magic”
o Batman Dark Flight – DC Comics’ first Batman 4D flight simulation ride
o Pacha Macau – Ibiza nightlife’s biggest name/premium club with exterior patio and four private rooms
o Studio City Event Center – 40,375 square feet of arena which hosts live performances and sporting events and 16 exquisite VIP suites that are available for private parties
o Warner Bros. Fun Zone – a 40,000 sq. foot playground for kids packed with popular Warner Bros., DC Comics and Hanna-Barbera characters
o Dining – Including 20 Chinese, International, Asian restaurants, cafés and bars
o Shops – The Boulevard at Studio City – a 35,000 square meter retail mecca
o Casino – Over 500,000 square feet of gaming machines and table games including Baccarat, Blackjack and Caribbean Stud Poker, among others,
o MICE – Wedding and banquet planning services