Liam Hemsworth and Jennifer Lawrence in ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2′ (Lionsgate)
In the dystopian future, being selected to step into the Arena of the annual Hunger Games will be a deadly stroke of bad luck. But before that, exploring the killing fields of the Capitol’s yearly event will be a very in-demand and exhilarating experience.
Lionsgate, the studio behind the monster-hit big-screen adaptations of author Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series, has long considered extending the life of the series with new, real-world attractions. And according to a recent report in the New York Times, the studio now is planning to populate new theme parks around the world with attractions spawned not only from The Hunger Games, but also such franchises as Twilight, Divergent, and the Step Up films.
The attractions, which will be run by independent companies, will follow on the heels of the upcoming Hunger Games traveling stage show coming in 2016.
In the U.S., the plan is to have several of its franchises — including Step Up and even Now You See Me — highlighted in a $265 million “entertainment destination” outside Atlanta called Avatron Smart Park, which is scheduled to open in 2019; plans also include several unrelated hotels and nightclubs, among other attractions.
In the more near-term, construction is well underway at a park in United Arab Emirates, called Motiongate, which is due to open next year. It will be worth the long plane ride for some The Hunger Games fans: When it opens, Motiongate will feature a mini-recreation of Katniss’ poor mining town home of District 12 (including Peeta’s bakery and The Hob), a roller coaster designed like The Capitol’s fancy bullet trains, and even a motion simulator that “flies” visitors over Panem. (Another park, scheduled for a 2018 open, is in development in China.)
Motiongate will also include attractions based on movies distributed by DreamWorks Animation and Sony, highlighting Hollywood’s rush to extend its brands to long-term and lucrative attractions around the world. As the film industry experiences uncertainty amid changing technology and shifting viewing habits, theme parks continue to grow: In 2013, worldwide attendance jumped 5.4 percent to 377.1 million worldwide.
DreamWorks Animation licensed its characters for mini-parks around the world, including one opening soon in Moscow; the company is also building its own resort, the Dream Center, in China, which will incorporate such franchises such as Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda.
Fox, meanwhile, announced on Tuesday plans for a 20th Century Fox World in Dubai, which will open in 2018 feature a resort and attractions based on franchises such as Ice Age, Planet of the Apes, Alien, Night at the Museum, Titanic, and Sons of Anarchy. The studio also has a park opening in Malaysia in 2017.
Disney and Universal have long extended franchises with their own theme parks, while Warner Bros. has licensed characters and properties to other operators. And as Fox and Lionsgate get into the business, the market leaders are busy expanding their offerings.
Disney unveiled plans to add major Star Wars and Marvel expansions to Disneyland and Disney World; Fox’s Avatar will be highlighted in a huge coming expansion to Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, as well.
Universal Studios, meanwhile, is opening a second Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is a joint effort with Warner Bros. The park also just opened a big Fast and the Furious-themed addition to its famed studio tour, along with an expansion to its Simpsons-themed section of the park.