New theme parks anchored by “Hunger Games” rides are being built in the U.S. and China, The New York Times reports.
“The two parks, built by separate companies and planned for areas near Atlanta and Macau, will join an already announced ‘Hunger Games’ stage show in London and an elaborate Lionsgate zone at a $3 billion entertainment complex under construction between Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates,” the paper reports.
The project got under way three years ago when the first “Hunger Games” movie was tearing up the box office. Lions Gate Entertainment CEO Jon Feltheimer got the ball rolling among top executives by suggesting a Disneyland-style ride based on the movie, and Tim Palen, now the studio’s chief brand officer, started brainstorming.
Said Palen: “The more we thought about it, the more we realized there was a major opportunity — not just to create something smart and captivating that ‘Hunger Games’ fans would love, but to bring all of our franchises alive in new ways.”
That’s even though, as The Times puts it, “The film’s titular games involve children killing children for the amusement of a futuristic society.”
“The theme park deals also call for ‘Step Up’ dance shows and attractions based on the studio’s ‘Divergent’ movies and the film ‘Now You See Me,’ about a troupe of illusionists who are implicated in a heist. Lionsgate also hopes to bring its ‘Twilight’ series to theme parks,” The Times reports.
The report quotes Amy Yong, an analyst at Macquarie Securities, who says the move by Lionsgate “speaks to the ability of management to skillfully leverage their intellectual property to other growth avenues.”
The report says the financial impact on the studio could be substantial. “The studio, which reported $2.4 billion in revenue and $181.8 million in net income for the 2015 fiscal year, which ended March 31, stands to generate $100 million in additional revenue from what it calls ‘location-based entertainment’ over the next few years,” The Times reports. “The total could be higher if gift-shop sales of themed merchandise take off.”
In the U.S. the “Hunger Games” and other Lionsgate attractions will be part of Avatron Smart Park near Atlanta, which is scheduled to open by 2019.