Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg Announces the Opening of THREE Theme Parks in Russia !

When Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg decides to announce a new theme park he don't do it half way! Yesterday he announced that Dreamworks will open in 2015 THREE indoor theme parks in Russia, one near Moscow, one near St Petersburg and one near Yekaterinburg! And not only that, Dreamworks is also challenging Universal Studiso for the title of first major theme park operator in Russia - as Universal plans to open their park near Moscow in 2018, and this is just saying how theme-park market is heating up in Russia!

More from The Moscow Times: 

"DreamWorks chief executive Jeffrey Katzenberg announced at a Moscow press conference that his company will open parks near Moscow, St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg in 2015, or more than three years ahead of NBCUniversal's Galactica Park in Moscow.

With the designs for the parks done and two of the sites acquired, "we're ready to go," Katzenberg said in an interview with The Moscow Times. Each site is expected to consist of a year-round theme park, 400-room hotel, concert hall, 4-D movie theater and a mall, and those components will be launched simultaneously at each site.
"They're not being built in stages or in phases," he said of the parks.
Katzenberg, a heavyweight among U.S. studio chiefs, said he has met with city officials, such as representatives from Moscow Mayor's office and with federal officials to promote the DreamWorks plan.

The cost of building all three DreamWorks parks will be roughly $1.5 billion, said Amiran Mutsoyev, a board member of Regions Group, which is DreamWorks' development partner for the ambitious project. The price tag for each park will be about $500 million and will depend on the specifics of the site, he said.
Regions has already acquired the land for the St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg projects, but it hasn't yet bought up the needed parcel for the Moscow region site, Mutsoyev said.

Both Mutsoyev and Katzenberg acknowledge that they are competing with NBCUniversal and the Universal Studios complex that it is planning to open in southern Moscow in 2018.

NBCUniversal announced its plans for Galactica Park in April, saying it was joining hands with U.S. promoter Anschutz Entertainment Group and Russian conglomerate Bin Group to build a 22-hectare complex. It is supposed to include a 150,000-square-meter Universal Studios theme park, which is likely to have rides and adventure zones. There also will be two hotels with a total of 1,100 rooms, two office towers, a sprawling shopping complex, a convention center and an indoor water park.
Like the DreamWorks proposal, Galactica Park is supposed to be an enclosed space that can be used year-round, even during Russian winters.

Mutsoyev said the DreamWorks sites will have a competitive edge over Galactica Park because they are targeted to children and teenagers, segments more profitable than the adult one, according to Regions' own research.

Regions signed a licensing agreement with DreamWorks to build and manage the sites in all three cities, the companies said. On Friday, Katzenberg said both Regions and DreamWorks staffers "have spent countless hours together in Moscow and Los Angeles, side by side," to design the sites. 

Within each theme park section, there will be five to six different zones based on the most popular film franchises at DreamWorks, such as Shrek, the good-hearted green giant with bugle ears, and Kung-Fu Panda, Katzenberg said in the interview.The character zone will have rides, shows and lots of interactions with costumed versions of the characters, he said."

Well, it seems that everybody is rushing to Russia while Disney have no plans to open a park there and that our russian friends will discover soon american themed theme parks! Let's hope that either Dreamworks or Universal will do a good job 
and that the three Dreamworks parks won't be too similar!

You can read the full article on The Moscow Times web site HERE.


danielz6 said...

Why should Disney open a park in Russia? Two of their three non-US Parks have struggled to turn a profit most years than not. I think its very risky what universal and dreamworks are doing in Russia.

Alain Littaye said...

Well, with no major theme parks exiting in Russia, a country where 143 million people are living, may be it's not THAT risky... if they do it well, of course.

Anonymous said...

This, along with Universal's announcement, will answer three questions:

1) Can an indoor theme park actually work?
2) Can a theme park work in the Russian market?
3) Can DreamWorks build a good theme park?

My thoughts...

1) No full-size indoor theme park has yet been tried. Small ones have. There was Metroland in Gateshead, UK, complete with a fully indoor rollercoaster (now closed). There was also that Space-themed park in Bremen, Germany (also now closed).

2) I doubt Russia is a good market. Most of the 143 million population is very poor, and Russia is not a popular tourist destination for people from rich countries. Could THREE theme parks (each costing 1/2 billion dollars just to build) REALLY be profitable? It would be difficult to guarantee that in the UK or Germany, never mind in Yekaterinburg!

3) DreamWorks has never built a theme park, only themed areas -- but that was with Universal's help. Can they do it on their own? We don't know yet. I notice that DreamWorks doesn't really have much IP to play with: Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon are their only big movies. In total they have only 25 movies, 6 of which were sequels. Compared to the IP of Universal and Disney, this is very small!

Having said all this, I hope DreamWorks can succeed, and I wish them all the best.


Eugenia said...

Oh.. well.. I missed this announcement and just found out about DreamWorks Parks. I'm from Russia, Moscow. I always dreamed about having a Disneyland or Universal park here, preferably in Moscow)) but I highly doubt that it's possible!
1. no matter how big our county is, three similar parks is too much. Especially in Moscow and St.Petersburg, way too close to each other!
2. russia is not very tourists friendly country? no matter how much we try to be) and I don't think that theme park will be enough reason to take trip to Russia
3. a lot of people living in Russia are very sceptic about this kind of projects. We simply don't have theme park culture. and it wont change soon enough for succeceful operation of these amount of theme parks
So I think it's very irrational announcing three theme parks in the country with no theme parks experience and DreamWorks zero experience in theme park building and operating!
So I'm not a believer in this case, but if it's gonna happen and will succeed I will be glad))