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Cirque's Macau Show Zaia To Shutter

MACAU, China (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Just three-and-a-half years into a what was slated to be a ten-year deal, Cirque du Soleil and the Macau unit of casino/resort operator Las Vegas Sands Corp are parting ways.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Cirque's "Zaia," their first long-term show in Asia, struggled with poor ticket sales, registering just 40% occupancy during January.

The heavily-promoted "Zaia" cost over $150 million USD to stage, inclusive of a custom built theatre for the show. A spokesman for Sands China told the WSJ that they are exploring options for retooling the venue.

"In view of the market trend and customer demand shown in the research we've conducted, the company will again be investing to redesign the theater," Gus Liem, vice president of entertainment at Sands China told the WSJ.

Cirque had been tapped to stage the heavily-promoted "Zaia," in Macau in an effort to help turn the island gambling haven into a full-featured tourist destination. The island is the only place in China where gambling is legal and was estimated to have generated last year more than five times the gambling revenue of Las Vegas. However, unlike Las Vegas, many visitors are focused more on gaming than entertainment.

Not every entertainment offering in Macau has foundered. The House of Dancing Water show at Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd.'s City of Dreams cost $257.9 million to bring to life but has been playing to packed houses opening in September 2010. Investors initially were skeptical of the venture after Cirque's poor showing but The House of Dancing Water appears to have found a way to resonate with its largely Chinese audience. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers