Way back in November 2013, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltenheimer announced during an earnings conference call that two territories have approached the studio about creating a theme park based on The Hunger Games franchise. Given the nature of these stories, which center on a group of children selected at random to take part in a battle to the death, many had wondered how this violent world created by author Suzanne Collins would translate into theme parks geared towards children. Today we have a new report from The New York Times, which reveals that these theme parks will be built near Atlanta and Macau, China, and will also incorporate the studio's hit franchises such as Step Up, Divergent, Now You See Me and possibly The Twilight Saga as well. Here's what Lionsgate's chief brand officer Tim Palen had to say in a statement.
"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."
The theme parks will join a previously-announced Hunger Games stage show in London and "an elaborate Lionsgate zone," a $3 billion entertainment complex that is currently under construction between Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The parks will include Hunger Games roller coasters and other rides based on the hit franchise, along with Step Up dance shows and unspecified attractions based on Divergent and Now You See Me.
The studio is licensing its properties to developers, who will design, build and operate the attractions. The move is similar to Warner Bros.' approach, which licenses its properties like Bugs Bunny and Batman to numerous theme parks such as Six Flags. The Atlanta theme park is dubbed the Avatron Smart Park, which will cost an estimated $625 million to build, with Avatron expecting to open the park in the year 2019. Ride designs are still in early stages of development, with the company's fundraising efforts expected to be wrapped up by the end of this year.
For the Chinese theme park, Lionsgate has a deal in place with China-based eSun Holdings for a 237,000-square-foot indoor "experience center" that will feature rides based on the studio's properties, which is expected to open in late 2018. Lionsgate has also licensed The Hunger Games to a Middle East theme park known as Motiongate, built by Dubai Parks and Resorts and set to open next year. The park will include areas devote to Lionsgate and other studios like DreamWorks Animation and Sony Pictures.
The Lionsgate area will be mostly devoted to The Hunger Games, with visitors entering a re-creation of District 12, the impoverished home of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). The Lionsgate area will feature costumed characters inhabiting real-life versions of Peeta's bakery and The Hob black market, along with a custom roller coaster that resembles the Capitol's high-speed trains. There will also be a simulator-style ride where visitors will take a hovercraft tour of Panem.
The beloved franchise will conclude in just a few short weeks when The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 hits theaters on November 20. The studio has hinted about the possibilities of future sequels, prequels and spinoffs, but nothing has been set in stone quite yet. What do you think about The Hunger Games theme parks? Stay tuned for more details on these theme parks, and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2.