Regional Update: Asia-Pacific | November 2019
China’s Hengdian Group Launches Dream Bund
Parkgoers at Hengdian World Studios’ Dream Bund can check out the facades of Old Shanghai under the canopy of a massive digital screen. The theme park and movie studio, which is located in Zhejiang province about two hours from Hangzhou, will debut in phases over the next year.
The sprawling 28-hectare site is designed to evoke Shanghai’s iconic waterfront district during the first half of the 20th century. Other sections of the park will feature “finely crafted replicas” of Shanghai’s Nanjing Road, the Paramount Theatre, and a traditional hutong neighborhood.
In addition to attractions, Dream Bund can accommodate up to 20 concurrent film and television productions.
Designed by Legacy Entertainment, Dream Bund complements an array of existing film-inspired attractions at the Hengdian World Studios, including authentically re-created sets modeled after the Forbidden City and Taoist grottos, as well as a “large video-experience theme park” with rides, volcanic eruptions, and torrential floods.
‘Sharknado’ Touches Down in Malaysia
Anthony C. Ferrante, the director for all six “Sharknado” movies, started the franchise as an inside joke. He never expected that fusing the destructive forces of a cyclone with sharks would be such a hit.
Now, “Sharknado” is scaring parkgoers in Malaysia at Sunway Lagoon’s Scream Park.
Ferrante traveled to Malaysia for the launch of the world’s first “Sharknado” walk-through themed attraction.
“Sharknado Alive!” occupies the entire top level of Scream Park and takes visitors through a 15-minute harrowing journey through familiar scenes from the movie.
The attraction, says Sunway Lagoon General Manager Sean SL Choo, “provides guests with a great blend of horror and humor, which will appeal to everyone.”
Mischievous Fairies Occupy Manila Mall
Filipino folklore comes to life in Quezon City with the opening of a new immersive attraction called Lambana, featuring mythical creatures like the mischievous dwende. Stories are drawn from personal experiences of the supernatural.
A 75-minute multisensory experience, Lambana is set in a 4,500-square-foot space on the fourth floor of Eastwood Mall. The attraction uses temperature control, scents, sound, and set design to create storylines that change based on participant decisions. Visitors become a hero, villain, or spectator in their own story. Shows run daily, twice an hour, in English and Tagalog.
Lambana is the first major project of entertainment company Tipsy Tales, which is already planning spin-off experiences. “Other immersive theaters are generally based on Western influences,” says the company’s co-founder Quina Baterna. “We aim to create interactive entertainment that speaks to Asian culture, stories, and experiences.”
Lionsgate Arrives in China
Visitors at Lionsgate Entertainment World in the new Novotown complex on Hengqin Island in Zhuhai, China, can compete in a game inspired by “The Twilight Saga.” In “Midnight Ride,” parkgoers join werewolves in a daring chase after vampires through the woods. Lionsgate says the ride is “the world’s first multiplayer interactive hyper-reality VR (virtual reality) simulator experience.”
“Midnight Ride” is just one of 30 attractions in Lionsgate’s first vertical theme park. Each offering in the 22,000-square-meter space is based on one of the studio’s successful film franchises. Fans of “The Hunger Games,” for example, can shop in Capitol Couture or try the “Mockingjay Flight: Rebel Escape.” Other popular franchises represented in the park include the “Divergent” trilogy, “Now You See Me,” “Escape Plan,” and “Gods of Egypt.” Designed by Thinkwell Group and operated by Village Roadshow Theme Parks, Lionsgate Entertainment World worked with CAVU Designwerks, Dreamcraft Attractions, Framestore, and ETF to create the technology behind the new rides and attractions.