Hong Kong conglomerate Lai Sun Group has signed a deal with Village Roadshow Limited that will see the Australian theme park operator’s Village Roadshow Theme Parks subsidiary operate its new Hollywood-themed amusement park on Hengqin Island near Macau.
According to a statement from Lai Sun Group, the new 236,800 sq ft Novotown “immersive experience center” is expected to open by the end of 2018 offering attractions, retail and dining areas themed around some of the most popular franchises from Californian studio Lionsgate Films including The Hunger Games, The Divergent Series, and Now You See Me as well as three more yet to be announced.
Being built by Zhuhai Hengqin Laisun Creative Culture City Company Limited, in which Lai Fung Holdings Limited holds an 80% stake with fellow Lai Sun Group subsidiary eSun Holdings Limited owning the rest, the development that will be a five-minute drive from the Macau border is to be linked to the former Portuguese enclave’s Cotai Strip by a bridge.
“We are very excited to partner with Village Roadshow [Theme Parks], a renowned international theme park operator to manage the Lionsgate [Films] immersive experience center in Zhuhai Hengqin, Novotown,” read a statement from John Tse of Lai Sun Group. “Hengqin is a perfect location to develop creative culture and tourism. It is also Novotown’s vision to become the cultural incubator within the region of Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.”
Village Roadshow Theme Parks already operates venues around the world including Warner Bros Movie World in Queensland, Australia, as well as Wet ‘N’ Wild Las Vegas and signed a deal in November to open China’s first Wet ‘N’ Wild Water Park on Hainan Island by the end of the year.
“We are tremendously excited to partner with Lai Sun Group,” read a statement from Tim Fisher of Village Roadshow Theme Parks. “Lai Sun Group, Village Roadshow [Theme Parks] and Lionsgate [Films] share a cutting-edge vision for the future of location-based entertainment and we are confident that this collaboration of great companies will bring to life the global iconic brands of Lionsgate [Films] in an immersive environment that will provide the consumer with an unforgettable experience. At Village Roadshow Theme Parks, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in this exciting venture, which is a testament to our capability to design, construct and operate themed parks on a global scale.”
Some analysts are seeing the development in a favorable light for casinos, who may only benefit from increased tourism nearby.