LOS ANGELES – Some of Lionsgate’s most popular film franchises from “Hunger Games” to “Twilight” will be brought to life when the studio opens what it calls the world’s first vertical theme park in China this summer.
Lionsgate Entertainment World will offer several adventures including a virtual reality motorcycle ride based on “Twilight,” a maximum-security prison breakout like in “Escape Plan” and a replica of The Capitol lobby from “Hunger Games,” complete with shops where guests can fashion themselves in the film’s distinctive couture.
More than 25 rides and virtual reality experiences will pack a sleek, futuristic looking bean-shaped building that stands 10 stories high. The theme park, which will also include attractions based on films such as “Divergent,” ‘’Now You See Me” and “Gods of Egypt,” is scheduled to open in July on Hengqin Island located in Zhuhai, China.
“We found a way to create this theme park experience inside of one box over multiple floors,” said Jenefer Brown, senior vice president of Global Live and Location Based Entertainment at Lionsgate.
“We created experiences that are immersive, that tell stories and are organic to the brands,” she said. “It’s a mix of all the cutting-edge attractions that you’ll find in entertainment right now.”
Brown said Lionsgate decided to create its first theme park to expand their international brand into China where films like “Twilight” and “Gods of Egypt” are popular. She said the studio hopes to capitalize off Zhuhai’s emerging status as a tourist destination and its proximity to Macau, which is considered the “Las Vegas of China.” She said the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom theme park in Zhuhai has already drawn tens of millions of people.
The Santa Monica, California-based company expects to have around 1.5 million park goers this year.
“We would complement Macau,” Brown said. “The idea is to have Vegas and Orlando right next to each other and create this super tourist destination. ... People are already coming here. But we’re on the early side in terms of development on the island. It’s growing into this dedicated kind of entertainment tourist place and virtual containment vessel.”
Lionsgate Entertainment World would be the first movie-themed park on Hengqin Island. Disney has a theme resort in Shanghai, and Universal has plans for a park based on its franchises, including “Fast and the Furious,” in Beijing.
The theme park will be a part of a large destination called Novotown, a multi-phase project that includes a hotel and office towers along with retail dining and entertainment. Future phases include plans for the National Geographic Ultimate Explorer and Real Madrid interactive experiences, as well as an international school will be built offering British-based education.
Here are some of the theme park’s other features shown to The Associated Press during a recent sneak peek of the park’s design and attractions:
Flying, and fashion, in “Hunger Games”Based on the four-part film series starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, park goers will journey through a motion simulator 3D ride experience called The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Flight Rebel Escape. It starts on the streets before riders board a vehicle that gets picked up by a hovercraft that flies through The Capitol.
Guests will also have the opportunity to venture around the lobby area of The Capitol where they can get their hair, makeup and even nails done to look like a citizen of the “Hunger Games” films, including the look of chaperone Effie Trinket.
Restaurants will feature a “Hunger Games”-themed menu with different dishes inspired by the film’s various districts.
Biking with wolves in “Twilight”Guests will have a chance to spend time in Forks, the town where author Stephenie Meyer based her vampire novels before they were turned into movies.
Twilight Saga: Midnight Ride offers a chance for four to hop on a motorcycle and take a virtual ride with Jacob Black and a pack of wolves on a dirt-bike adventure through the moonlit woods while an evil creature roams the area looking for blood.
Guests will control their bike’s speed, which path it takes and see other riders during the excursion.
Twilight Saga: Bella’s Journey will be an indoor amusement ride that highlights key moments from the films including Bella Swan’s relationship with her vampire husband Edward Cullen and encountering The Volturi, the most powerful coven of vampires.
Soaring with the “Gods of Egypt”Gods of Egypt: Battle for Eternity will be a virtual reality roller coaster based on the 2016 film about Egyptian deities. Riders on the high-speed amusement train ride will don headsets and soar through ancient Egypt during an epic battle between good and evil.
Plotting an “Escape Plan”About 20 people work together to break out of a maximum-security prison in Escape Plan: Prison Break. The group faces a climbing challenge course and crawl through tunnels to escape to freedom.