Rides and attractions based on popular films and TV shows like “Aliens,” “Planet of the Apes,” “Sons of Anarchy” and “Titanic” will soon be hitting the Middle East.
Twentieth Century Fox has announced a licensing partnership with Al Ahli Holding Group that will result in the construction of a theme park and resort in Dubai. The park will be Fox-branded and will tap into the studio’s entertaiment library. The deal allows for a roll-out of up to three additional Fox-branded resorts in territories outside Dubai.
The Dubai location will open in 2018. It will cost north of $850 million to build and develop, according to sources.
Fox will not own a stake in the parks, but the company believes its properties will benefit from being featured across the resort.
“This will build a tremendous amount of fan engagement with these brands,” said Jeffrey Godsick, president of Fox Consumer Products. “There are strong merchandising opportunities and it will allow us to connect with our audiences on an ongoing basis.”
This is the second time that Fox has lent its name to a theme park. In 2013, it struck a partnership with Resorts World Genting to build a theme park in Malaysia. That park is set to open in 2017.
The Fox announcement comes as other studios are ramping up their theme park licensing business. This week, Lionsgate announced it will be involved in building attractions based on movies like “The Hunger Games” in planned parks in Atlanta and Macau. At the same time, studios like Universal, which owns its own parks, have been investing heavily in building up their offerings. The company will open a “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” themed land at its Hollywood location next spring, having seen a similar attraction in its Orlando location boost attendance by 30%.
20th Century Fox World, Dubai will boast a series of themed lands, with amusement park attractions, themed restaurants, and stores. There will also be a Fox-themed resort hotel. The partners also plan to build rides and other features based on “Ice Age,” “Rio,” “Predator,” “Night at the Museum” and “The Simpsons.” The company cannot include its most popular film franchise, “Avatar,” in the resort, since characters and material from the James Cameron epic have been licensed and will be featured in themed attractions at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
Of all of the pictures mentioned as part of the rides and attractions at the new resort, “Titanic,” a romance that ends tragically, sounds the most unconventional. But Godsick says it’s the perfect fit.
“We are working on creating an immersive experience that includes motion theater simulators and will allow you to experience what it was like to be on the Titanic in an exciting way,” he said.
Rethink Leisure & Entertainment, a subsidiary of Al Ahli, will provide design and production services.
Al Ahli is a conglomerate with diverse interests in comic books, construction, real estate, retail, and technology. In September, it bought the celebrity social media service TheAudience.