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Lionsgate Closes One Door and Opens One to Another Entertainment Property
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Earlier this year, Lionsgate Entertainment City, scheduled to open in New York City in 2019, was terminated by partner Parques Reunidos, who also terminated an attraction for Lionsgate in Madrid.

Lionsgate Entertainment City was to have featured a variety of attractions in central Manhattan's Times Square. The property was described as including various Lionsgate film and television properties in the attractions, including Mad Men, The Hunger Games and the most recent installment of the John Wick franchise. It was to be the first of several branded indoor entertainment centers planned by the two companies in the U.S. and abroad. The Man Men attraction was to be a dining and lounge experience; the Hunger Games offering a flying simulator attraction. A Divergent themed obstacle course and a John Wick: Chapter Two shooting ride where fans went head-to-head with a series of assailants rounded out the name-franchise offerings. Also planned was a 4D film and live theater, as well as a virtual reality entertainment offering that included a Nerve VR motorcycle experience. Designed to be on site was a Lionsgate Café, the Hunger Games-inspired Peeta's Bakery and The Capitol Confectionery, and the first-ever Lionsgate Studio Store.

Parques Reunidos was said to have backed out of the project after its own themed attractions did poorly in Spain; based upon those results, the company decided to take a different direction. Despite the cancellation of the Lionsgate Entertainment City plan for New York, Lionsgate has drawn 25 million visitors across its other company-branded attractions, located in Dubai, Las Vegas and several other cities worldwide.

The Lionsgate Entertainment World vertical theme park in China opened in late summer, and the Lionsgate Movie World outdoor theme park will debut in South Korea next year as planned.

Initially, Lionsgate offered no comment on the news terminating plans for New York and Madrid, which first broke in June 2019.

But now, Lionsgate itself is going in a different direction.

The company is building a $100 million-plus production facility in New York -- with space to create a location-based entertainment property similar to its offerings in China and the Middle East. But the property will not be located in midtown Manhattan.

The company signed a deal with Great Point Capital Management, a media-focused investment fund, to construct the complex in Yonkers, NY.

With a rise in TV production demands and a shortage of New York area studio facilities, Great Point Capital and Lions Gate are both excited by the investment, with Great Point terming it “ideal.” Lionsgate will become an anchor tenant and investor in the studio complex. It will have naming rights to the studio.

According to Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer, “It's rare to find a studio facility in such a prime New York metropolitan area location, and we look forward to being at the center of film and television production growth.”

Construction preparation is proceeding apace: building is scheduled to begin in November, with the entertainment facility completed by autumn 2020.

It will include three 20,000-square-feet stages and two 10,000-square-feet stages, as well as a fully operational backlot. And – pertinent in the amusement world, plenty of room for a location-based entertainment property such as those Lionsgate has already established in China and elsewhere globally.

In China, the theme park is managed by Village Roadshow Theme Parks, which also manages eight different theme parks in Australia, and is a majority owner and operator of Wet ‘n' Wild in Las Vegas.

The theme park's main attractions in China include “The Twilight Saga – Midnight Ride,” a multiplayer interactive VR motorbike simulator that allows riders to race with Jacob and the Wolf Pack on a dirt-bike adventure; and “The Twilight Saga – Bella's Journey,” a multi-media dark ride that immerses guests into Bella's world, from her first kiss to the threat of the Volturi. The “Divergent” component also includes two separate attractions: “Fear Simulator,” a VR walk-through which tests experience, bravery, and willpower and takes riders along treacherous paths and traps; and “The Chasm Climbing Course,” that allows players to actually climb walls, suspended bridges, and along vertical drops.

“Hunger Games – Mockingjay Flight Rebel Escape” is a single attraction that features a multiple motion-based cabin 3D simulator.

While these theme park experiences are likely to show up in Yonkers, two attractions in China are more unlikely to do so: “The Escape Plan – Prison Break” a multiplayer interactive escape room; and “Now You See Me – Long's Magic Shop” that simulates part of Macau with live magicians.

Hunger Games themed dining options and a variety of retail outlets are also thriving in China.

For now, Lionsgate has remained quiet as to which entertainment attractions will make it to New York after all.
National Resources, another investment partner, will be responsible for all phases of design and construction of the facility, which will be located less than 30 minutes from Manhattan on the Hudson River.

 “We are very proud that Lionsgate shares our vision and has come on board with our project,” Great Point Capital Management's Robert Halmi attests. Yonkers mayor, Mike Spano adds “This is a game changer for the City of Yonkers and is a testament to the ongoing revitalization of our waterfront…We are thrilled to have Lionsgate partner with Great Point Capital Management and National Resources to make this happen.”

The construction project will be built at 1 Larkin Plaza near the Hudson River, and along with space for themed entertainment and back lot, will include five sound stages —  three 20,000-square-foot and two 10,000-square-foot stages.
In short, Lionsgate is coming to the Big Apple after all.
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