The latest theme park project to be built abroad by a U.S. media giant will be in Dubai and will feature attractions based on movies such as "Aliens," "Titanic," "The Simpsons," "Ice Age" and "Planet of the Apes."
20th Century Fox announced Tuesday that it is teaming up with Al Ahli Holding Group, a conglomerate based in the United Arab Emirates, to build a 75-acre theme park valued at more than $850 million outside Dubai.
The park, to be dubbed 20th Century Fox World, would be the second of its kind for the U.S. media company, which is building a 20th Century Fox World in Malaysia.
The project reflects U.S. media giants' growing interest in investing in Asia and the Middle East, where disposable income and demand for American-themed entertainment is on the rise. As many as 59 theme parks are under construction in China alone, according to Los Angeles-based engineering firm Aecom.
The $4-billion Shanghai Disney resort is expected to open late this year with two hotels and a Downtown Disney shopping center. The $1.8-billion Hong Kong Disneyland opened in 2005. Universal Studios is scheduled to open its own $3.3-billion movie theme park in Beijing in 2019.
"It is where consumer spending is beginning to meet the appetite for entertainment," Greg Lombardo, senior vice president of global live and location based entertainment for 20th Century Fox Consumer Products, said of Asia and the Middle East.
He declined to discuss details about the attractions that will be built in the new theme park but an artist's rendition of the project shows more than a dozen rides plus a Fox-themed resort hotel.
Experts estimate that the park could draw as many as 3 million visitors in the first year. In comparison, Disneyland in Anaheim drew an estimated 16.7 million visitors last year while Universal Studios Hollywood took in nearly 7 million visitors, according to an Aecom estimate.
Lombardo pointed out that the new park will enjoy many built-in advantages, including proximity to Dubai International Airport, one of the world's busiest airports with more than 70 million passengers per year.
"It's a truly international destination," he said.
Schematics for the park have already been drawn, with construction expected to begin within a year. The theme park is expected to open in 2018.
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