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Warner Bros. theme park in Abu Dhabi set to open in 2018

Warner Bros. theme park in Abu Dhabi set to open in 2018
This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Ben Affleck, left, and Henry Cavill in a scene from, "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." Warner Bros. plans to feature the Batman and Superman characters in its Abu Dhabi theme park. (Clay Enos / AP)

A long-promised Warner Bros. theme park, featuring comic book heroes and Looney Tunes  characters, is under construction in Abu Dhabi.

The $1-billion theme park's first phase is set to open in 2018, the studio and park developer said Tuesday. Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi will be located on the city's man-made Yas Island near a Ferrari-branded park called Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and a huge water park called Yas Waterpark.

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Warner Bros., the studio with the rights to such classic characters as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Bugs Bunny and Scooby-Doo, is teaming up with Miral Asset Management of Abu Dhabi to develop the park on the island.

Kevin Tsujihara, chairman and chief executive of Warner Bros. Entertainment, said the park will be "a fully interactive, innovative and unique experience that will allow fans of all ages to experience the most exciting aspects of Warner Bros. in a completely immersive environment."

Miral, an arm of the Abu Dhabi government, is making the $1-billion investment in the park and a hotel under a license with the studio.

The United Arab Emirates hopes the new park will boost tourism on Yas Island, which is already home to seven hotels, more than 100 restaraunts and eateries, shopping malls and golf courses.

The idea for a Warner Bros. theme park in the Persian Gulf area is not new. The Burbank-based movie and entertainment company had talked about such a project in 2007, before the world's economic recession.

Warner Bros. theme parks already operate in Queensland, Australia, and Madrid, Spain. The company also offers studio tours of its movie-making facilities in Burbank and London.

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow Hugo Martin on Twitter at @hugomartin.

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