By Dave McNary
Katniss Everdeen may be getting into the theme park business, thanks to Lionsgate.
Taking advantage of its blockbuster Hunger Games franchise, Lionsgate announced Friday that it will launch a U.S. tour of The Hunger Games: The Exhibition in the summer of 2015 as a first step towards exploring additional theme park attractions and other location-based entertainment opportunities.
Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer made the announcement during the studio’s conference call with analysts to discuss earnings for its fourth quarter ended March 31.
The exhibition will include displays of costumes, props and other elements of the franchise films. Lionsgate is teaming with theme-park and location-based entertainment specialist Thinkwell Group for the project.
The first two Hunger Games films — starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen — have grossed more than $1.5 billion at the worldwide box office. The exhibition will launch several months ahead of the Nov. 20, 2015 release of the fourth and final film, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 with artifacts featured in the first three films.
Lionsgate said the exhibition will be placed in “major museums and institutions” with a multimedia promotional effort and nationwide advance ticket sales.
“Now that we’ve built a critical mass of intellectual property, we’re committed to extending our brands into exciting new businesses that create opportunities for our fans to engage with our properties at the same time they deliver significant incremental financial benefits to Lionsgate,” said Lionsgate chief marketing officer Tim Palen.
Lionsgate announced last November that it was exploring getting into the theme-park business. CEO Jon Feltheimer made the disclosure at that point during a conference call with analysts, saying Lionsgate had been approached about Hunger Games theme parks in two territories and was considering those possibilities.
Palen also announced Friday that Lionsgate has brought veteran Thinkwell executive Jenefer Brown in-house, naming her to the newly created post of senior VP of branded attractions.
Lionsgate said Brown will oversee the launch of the U.S. tour of The Hunger Games exhibition but will also explore additional theme park attraction and other location-based entertainment opportunities around the world for The Hunger Games franchise, along with Lionsgate’s entire portfolio of branded properties.
Brown will be overseeing the production and management of all branded attraction efforts for Lionsgate and report to Palen. She has worked on projects for Warner Bros. Entertainment, Anschutz Entertainment Group, the National Basketball Association, CORE Media Group, Sesame Workshop and Nickelodeon Animation Studios.