What’s next now that Genting’s Fox theme park plans have been derailed?
ON NOV 26, 2018, it was reported that Malaysian conglomerate Genting Malaysia Bhd has sued Walt Disney Co and 21st Century Fox for backing out of an agreement to sponsor a Fox World theme park in Resorts World Genting.
Resorts World Genting is an integrated hill resort development comprising hotels, shopping malls, theme parks, and casinos. It is Malaysia’s only casino resort.
Genting claimed Disney does not want to be associated with its gambling business because of its “family-friendly” brand strategy. As such, the former is suing for more than US$1 billion in damages.
Fox entered into a licensing agreement in 2013 with Genting for the development of 20th Century Fox World, the first Fox-branded theme park in the world.
The movie-inspired theme park, which is part of the Genting Integrated Tourism Plan (GTTP), was to be a key attraction at Resorts World Genting, about an hour’s drive from the Malaysian capital city of Kuala Lumpur.
It would replace the previous Genting outdoor theme park which was closed on Sept 1, 2013. Construction for the 20th Century Fox World commenced on Dec 17, 2013.
It was revealed that the theme park would be 250 acres in size and feature roughly 25 thrilling rides and attractions based on films and franchises such as Ice Age, Rio, Life of Pi, Night at the Museum, Planet of the Apes, Alien vs. Predator, and Sons of Anarchy.
Preliminary renderings of the aerial view of the park gave a sneak peek of the Ice Age rollercoaster as well as the recreation of the Titanic.
Genting would own and finance the park completely, with Fox getting a cut of the revenue from retail, food, and beverages, according to Bloomberg. The conglomerate had already invested US$750 million in the park.
Suspicions of trouble in theme park paradise first arose when the theme park was delayed from 2016 to 2018. At the time, it is believed that it was due to Malaysia’s weak currency. Later, the opening was pushed to 2019.
But Bloomberg, citing Genting, reported Fox has been trying to renegotiate the agreement in various times over delays in the park’s completion and had sought to get a share of the gate revenue as well.
On Dec 14, 2017, Disney announced a definitive agreement to acquire Fox for US$52.4 billion in stock. The acquisition deal is set to close on Jan 1, 2019.
This allegedly impacted Fox’s renegotiation process greatly. With Disney taking the wheel, the objective was longer renegotiation but termination
Recent pictures of the park in progress shared by social media users show how much 20th Century Fox World had already taken shape. Notably, the Sons of Anarchy ride and the Ice Age rollercoaster can be seen in the postings.
Meanwhile, Disney and Fox have rejected claims accusing them of abandoning the 20th Century Fox World theme park licensing contract.
Disney and Fox said Genting’s respective claims against them were “without merit”, Reuters reported.
Fox stated their reasons for withdrawing from the deal were due to Genting consistently not meeting “agreed-upon deadlines for several years” and that Genting’s attempts to blame Disney for Fox’s default were “made up”.
“We look forward to presenting all the facts in the appropriate forum,” Deadline quoted a spokesperson as saying.
Malaysia is already home to a handful of theme parks, such as the Sunway Group-owned 88-acre Sunway Lagoon in Bandar Sunway, Selangor and the Merlin Entertainments-operated 76-acre Legoland Malaysia in Iskandar Puteri, Johor.
20th Century Fox World was expected to help broaden the casino resort’s appeal to the country’s majority Muslim population and achieve a target of 30 million annual visitors by 2020.
Whether the project can be salvaged or rebranded, or will the whole project terminated altogether remains to be seen.
That having said, these are the companies and operators that could potentially swoop in to save Genting’s theme park:
Village Roadshow Theme Parks
Australia-based Village Roadshow Theme Parks is a division of Village Roadshow Limited which operates theme parks and attractions in Australia and the US.
One of its most notable projects is Warner Bros. Movie World, a popular movie-related theme park on the Gold Coast which opened on June 3, 1991.
Warner Bros. Movie World is currently the only movie-related park in Australia and the oldest of three Warner Brothers movie theme parks worldwide.
It boasts various movie-themed rides and attractions ranging from motion simulators to roller coasters and slow river rides, as well as appearances from popular characters such as Batman, Austin Powers, Marilyn Monroe, Scooby-Doo, The Mystery Inc. Gang, and various Looney Tunes characters.
Universal Parks & Resorts
Florida-based Universal Parks & Resorts operates Universal theme parks and resort properties around the world.
It is best known for attractions and lands based on famous classic and modern pop culture properties (movies, television, literature, cartoons, comics, video games, music, etc.) from not only NBCUniversal but also third-party companies.
In 2017, approximately 49,458,000 guests visited Universal Studios theme parks worldwide, making it the third-largest amusement park operator in the world.
Current Universal Studios theme parks include Universal Studios Hollywood (1964), Universal Orlando Resort (1990), Universal Studios Japan (2001), and Universal Studios Singapore (2008).
Projects in the pipeline include Universal Studios Beijing (2020), Universal Studios Moscow (2022), and Universal Studios South Korea (2021).
Note: Universal Studios Singapore is located on a Genting Singapore-developed integrated resort on the island of Sentosa, off the southern coast of Singapore.
Located South Korean capital city of Seoul, the Lotte Corporation-owned Lotte World is a major recreational complex which consists of two areas: Lotte World Adventure, an indoor theme park, and a Magic Island outdoor theme park.
It boasts various attractions including shopping malls, a luxury hotel, souvenir stores, a Korean folk museum, sports facilities, movie theaters, laser shows, thrilling rides, an ice rink, vibrant parades, and more.
Lotte World Garden Stage presents various themed musicals to match each season while Lotte World Star Avenue is the perfect place to experience Korean stars and the entertainment world.
Open all year long, Lotte World receives 7.3 million visitors each year.
Six Flags is an amusement park corporation based in the US, with properties in the US, Canada, and Mexico.
In North America alone, Six Flags maintains 25 properties including theme parks, amusement parks, water parks, and family entertainment centers, making it the largest amusement park company in the world based on the number of properties owned.
It is particularly known for its adrenaline rush-inducing, pulse-pounding, gut-
Ranked seventh in terms of attendance, Six Flags’ properties hosted 30.4 million guests in 2017.