Theme Park Company Merlin Strikes Deal for Jumanji-Themed Rides and Rooms | Merlin Entertainment

Hollywood’s $2 billion Jumanji film franchise is coming to the real world as part of a global deal to open themed attractions, rides, hotel rooms and outlets across Europe and the United States. North America.

The deal between Sony Pictures Entertainment and UK-headquartered Merlin Entertainments will involve the development of Jumanji-themed “lands” at theme parks to bring films starring Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Karen. Gillan.

Merlin, the largest theme park operator in Europe and the second largest in the world, manages over 135 attractions in 24 countries, including Alton Towers, Legoland, Peppa Pig World, Sea Life, the London Eye, Cadbury World and The Bear Grylls Adventure.

The first experience based on the franchise, the multimillion-pound Jumanji – The Adventure, will open next month at Merlin’s Gardaland resort in Italy. Described as a “dark ride for adventure seekers of all ages”, its opening coincides with the launch of Jumanji-themed hotel rooms at the resort.

Jumanji – The Adventure at Merlin’s Gardaland resort in Italy will open next month. Photography: handout

The companies were helped to mount the ride by London-based Framestore, special effects magicians with Oscars for Gravity and Blade Runner 2049, and US underwater engineering firm Oceaneering, which worked on the Jaws rides , Jurassic Park and Transformers. at Universal Studios.

Merlin and Sony are developing a second ride at another as-yet-unnamed theme park slated to open next year.

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The first film Jumanji, from Chris Van Allsburg’s 1981 children’s book and starring Dunst and the late Williams, premiered in 1995 to mixed reviews but proved to be a box office success, grossing more $260 million worldwide, making it the 10th biggest movie of the year.

A decision to reboot the franchise more than two decades later with 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, starring Johnson and Gillan as well as Kevin Hart and Jack Black, proved its enduring global appeal as it cost over $960 million. of dollars. Jumanji: The Next Level, released in 2019, cost over $800 million.

A Jumanji hotel room
A Jumanji hotel room. Photography: handout

“Sony is one of the best motion picture companies on the planet and Jumanji is a multi-billion dollar brand that has been delighting customers of all ages for more than two decades,” said Mark Fisher, director of development at Merlin Entertainments. “Our Merlin team is already hard at work developing brilliant creative concepts, which will bring the famous blockbuster Jumanji movies to life in our theme parks and water parks.”

Jeffrey Godsick, Senior Executive at Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), said, “Merlin is the perfect company to bring the world of Jumanji to life. We always knew it was a much-loved franchise. Jumanji fans will be completely immersed in the worlds of our films and have an unforgettable experience.

Merlin has previously worked with SPE to develop a ride associated with Ghostbusters at Heide Park in Germany, and an experience based on the same franchise at Madame Tussauds in New York.

The company has also developed partnerships for rides, experiences and attractions with brands such as Lego, Disney’s Marvel, Peppa Pig and CBeebies.

Last month Merlin, who was deprived in a £6bn deal before the pandemic hit, agreed a 50-year deal to take over the Cadbury World attraction at the Bournville factory in the chocolate maker in the West Midlands.

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