Motiongate Dubai continues to be one of the most interesting theme park stories of the last ten years. It features attractions from a ton of intellectual properties: Shrek, Ghostbusters, Smurfs, The Hunger Games and well over a dozen more. What’s fascinating? Even pre-pandemic, they’ve been hemorrhaging money since they’ve open. Losing millions of dollars just to keep the doors open, much less pay down their original investment. Yet, they just announced they’re going to be adding two new roller coasters in the next two years. Why?
First of all, these two coasters represent two strong Lionsgate franchises. Lionsgate seems to be pushing their team to make as many licensing deals as possible within themed entertainment. This is because they don’t foot the bill. Parks like motiongate will pay for the new attractions and pay a royalty back to Lionsgate. Usually in the form of merchandise or even a small percentage of ticket sales.
The question still remains. Why would you add a John Wick coaster or ANY coaster to a theme park that isn’t even breaking even yet?
The reality is, Dupai Parks and resorts kind of had these coasters lying around. Again, this goes back to another licensing deal. Except for this one didn’t pan out.
Six Flags Dubai got the ax back in 2019. Even though this park was under construction, Dubai Parks and Resorts pumped the breaks. Why operate another park (in addition to Legoland, Bollywood Park and motiongate Dubai) at a loss and just add another. Thus, they pulled the plug.
Yet, many of the attractions had already been built (or mostly) and had been shipped to Dubai or were awaiting shipment. Thus, the John Wick and Now You See Me Coasters were never going to be themed to those franchises in Six Flags. Yet, it makes sense to leverage the rights they have to tie them to an IP.
What doesn’t make sense is adding these coasters now. Perhaps they feel like after the pandemic, motiongate Dubai will fill a need for people to get out and do things again? Only time will tell. However, this park feels like it has a long way to get profitable.
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