|PARAMOUNT PARK LONDON
London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH)
2023 - New Park - (6/22/17) The big news in the past few hours has been the announcement from the UK that Paramount Licensing Inc. and London Resort Company Holdings Limited (LRCH) have agreed to end their previous licensing agreement that would have allowed the Paramount name and intellectual properties to be used for the £3.2 billion Paramount Park London project.
Yes... £3.2 billion... which converts to about $4 billion US (or €3.6 billion) which is certainly no chump change. That is a project with a serious budget the likes of which I don't think the European marker has ever seen before. So what does this break-up with Paramount really mean?
I have to admit that my inner "fanboy" was quickly reminded about how quickly other Paramount branded park projects announced over the years have all died off rather quickly. So from that point of view I have to admit that my initial gut-reaction was an almost Douglas Adams / Hitchhiker's Guide inspired, "Oh no, not again."
But that isn't true... because despite it all, the project is still moving forward and has almost been hinting that this was to come based on past actions. For example, it was just a week ago that they announced a new partnership with InterContinental Hotels Group who would manage an estimated 4,000 hotel rooms to be built on site for the theme park resort project. In that particular announcement, while I didn't catch it at the time, LRCH and ICH actually made no mention of the "Paramount" brand name at all.
As part of today's Paramount breakaway, you can see a great video interview with Andy Martin who mentions that this was the right decision for LRCH, indicating that it wasn't Paramount leaving the park, but rather the park leaving Paramount. In fact if you continue to watch, he mentions that this frees up the project to pursue many different IP's going forward, rather that simply being locked to the Paramount catalog.
When you get down to brass tacks, this is actually a very smart move for the LRCH to have made, freeing themselves from the shackles of a single IP holder in order to hand-pick the best of the best out there. For a prime example, you have only to look at what Universal has been doing with their theme parks for decades. Universal always knew that they didn't want to be held only the use of their own IP and would often strike deals with other studios who had no interest in owning their own theme parks in order to secure the theme park rights to numerous IPs over the years.
Just take a quick look over the current attractions at Universal right now and you'll find IPs from many different studios. Men In Black (Sony/Columbia), Simpsons (FOX), Harry Potter (Warner Bros.), Transformers (Paramount), plus the infamous Marvel deal that has been the cause of many headaches for Disney since they bought Marvel.
Speaking of Disney... they were not above the practice either, putting in attractions based on Indiana Jones and Star Wars into their parks decades before they ever purchased the rights from George Lucas.
I've also seen other posts made today where people were already saddened that the park would lose out on a bunch of great themes... though looking at the lists, many of those properties being talked about were not Paramount's to give. I've seen mention of Indiana Jones... which is now owned by Disney, not Paramount. Star Trek? There was a time Paramount had control of Trek, but now they are just using a license themselves from CBS for the property to make new movies. I've seen Titanic mentioned, which has a complex ownership deal between Fox, Paramount and one James Cameron who would have to put his personal stamp of approval on anything to do with it. Transformers? I don't think so... Universal has to have beat them to it by now after installing Transformers rides at both US parks and internationally at the Singapore park. Based on concept art, it looks like we can expect Transformers at the new China park as well. While there could be a loophole for use in the UK, I suspect Universal may have locked up the global theme park rights. So what's left from Paramount that's current and popular? That question is a bit harder to answer, and while Paramount has many fine properties... I don't think they have enough to warrant such an exclusive deal.
As previously announced, LRCH has already signed deals with the BBC and Aardman Entertainment to use various IPs for the park. Now LRCH is saying they are in talks to strike up new deals with various IP owners. In fact, sources close to this project have confirmed to Screamscape that this is indeed the case and that active discussions between LRCH and various IP holders are currently taking place. While I don't know WHO exactly they are in talks with, I would also suspect that Paramount could even be one of them... as they could still try to sign a deal for Mission Impossible (assuming Tom Cruise is willing to play ball).
Instead of being a deal breaker... I think the breakaway from Paramount may very well be the decision that saves this park project from the development hell they found themselves languishing in for the past 5 years.
(3/10/17) According to this latest news article about the proposed Paramount Park London project, it seems the project has been delayed yet again, with the developers now promoting a 2022 opening date. If everything stays on the current schedule however, they say construction work can begin by 2019.
(2/10/17) A bit of possible bad news came to light regarding the proposed Paramount Park project. According to the local news a Chinese investor firm that vowed a £100-million investment into the project has been exposed as a "shell company" that has so far only delivered funds on one small project in the UK. The park developers still insist that the promised investment is still committed to the project and they hope to share more positive news about the park soon.
(4/2/16) The local news reports that the new Paramount Park in London appears to have been delayed, as the developer failed to submit their plans for the project this week, putting a newly proposed 2021 opening date in jeopardy. Officials now say that the plans wont be submitted until a year from now, which is quite the lengthy delay for a project that already been in development this long, which is never a good sign.
(10/21/15) According to this report a Chinese owned construction company named SinoFortone has pledged to invest £100 million into the London Paramount Theme Park and Resort project, as part of an estimated £5.2 billion in various investments into local UK businesses following the visit of China’s President Xi Jinping to the UK. Construction on the new theme park resort is expected to begin in 2017 and be complete by 2020.
(6/17/15) London’s Paramount Park project has posted some new visual information about the project on their website on a “Stage 4” PDF you can download. Included in the promotional piece, designed to answer questions from the public about the project, is our first aerial map of the project site showing off which sections will be used for the park, parking, hotels as well as what looks to be a good ammount of “marsh” space to be left alone on other side of the park. Unfortunately, there appears to be more “marsh” than there does “theme park”.
(4/29/15) A bit more concept artwork from the proposed Paramount Park London has been released showing off various new lands and themes such as Myths and Legends area, a waterfront Port Bay area, Adventure Isle and more. Click here to see the new art.
(2/25/15) Good news for Paramount Park London, the proposed theme park has now signed a deal with Aardman Animations to bring their characters to the park. Aardman is known mostly for their Wallace and Gromit series, Shaun the Sheep and Creature Comforts.
(1/29/15) Screamscape sources tell us that Paramount Park London is slated to hold the next phase of workshops with the public about the new park project over a series of weeks between mid-February to mid-March. We hope to learn more about the evolution of the park from these as they happen.
(12/12/14) Another great step has been taken to help develop the proposed Paramount Park London project, with the signing of a deal with the BBC to license most of their popular franchises to the park for use as attractions, themes and characters to meet. The deal is thought to includes Doctor Who, Sherlock, Top Gear, though at this point in time neither party is willing to commit to confirming which exact properies are included and which may be left off the table due to previously existing deals or complications. For example… it has long been rumored that a Doctor Who attraction may be in the works Thorpe Park for 2016, but this has yet to be confirmed.
(11/18/14) Paramount London now has an official website to review their resort and theme park plans at www.LondonParamount.info where they have posted a schedule of dates where they will be to show off their idea to the public and take public feedback on the project. While there isn’t any new concept art that we haven’t seen before the breakdown on the park lists it as having “over 50 exciting rides and attractions” themed to Paramount’s famous catalog of film, television, games and other products. Of that, there will be at least “12 major rides” as well as several live shows and entertainment acts. The goal right now lists an opening date of Easter 2020 with additional rides and attractions planned to be added in the years that follow.
(11/7/14) A couple of great new renderings for the Paramount London theme park project have been posted over at Disney & More this week, showing off what the park’s entrance plaza could look like, as well as a peek at the park’s futuristic Star Trek themed land with a coaster running through it.
(10/10/14) According to this news update, initial government approval has been granted for the Paramount Park - London project. The current timetable for the project, once they are allowed to begin construction, will see a four-year phased construction timetable, with a planned opening of Spring 2020.
(7/2/14) The group behind the proposed Paramount Park: London has begun sending out invitations to local residents and business to a series of “public exhibitions” to be held throughout the rest of the year where they will show off their plans for the new theme park resort where they will also take feedback from the public to learn about what they like and what concerns they have from the project. Click here to read more as well as find out the dates and locations for the first wave of public exhibitions. I’d encourage any readers in the area to attend to learn more and report back about this new project.
(5/12/14) The proposed new Paramount theme park has taken another step forward this month after being called a “Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project” by the local government. Currently the project is on track to open by 2019 if all goes well.
(12/15/13) Good news for the UK’s Paramount theme park project as the government has now crossed the site off the list of possible locations for a new Thames river crossing, freeing it up for the theme park resort project to move forward when they are able.
(5/22/13) The local news reports that the proposed Paramount Park in London may be in jeopardy as the site for the park was also selected by the Department of Transportation as one of three possible locations for a river crossing route. Click here to find out more.
(4/8/13) In an interesting twist… the proposed Paramount theme park in London has hit a minor snag as the site of the park was discovered to be home to a rare breed of jumping spiders who will end up being rounded up and relocated. (You can count me out of volunteering for that job…)
(12/11/12) According to this news article the man who helped raise the funds needed to secure the London 2012 Olympic Games has been assigned the task of helping the Paramount Park project in Kent become a reality.
(11/30/12) New details about the proposed Paramount Park project in London came out this week as the developer shared a bit more information about his plan. In addition to the theme park, the project area would have an indoor waterpark, theaters, movie theaters, and something called Techno Expo, an exhibit space for future technologies. There is still plenty of development time left here however, as they don’t expect to be ready to begin construction on the project until early 2015.
(10/9/12) In an interesting bit of news, a Paramount Theme Park project has been announced for the London area, with hopes of opening in 2018 on a 272 acre site. You can find a picture showing off a model of the proposed theme park project at The Theme Park Guy, which includes an Entertainment District in the center, and an indoor waterpark and resort on either side of the entrance plaza. The project is a partnership between Lafarge, who already own the large piece of property, Britian’s Development Securities and Brooffield Multiplex of Canada, who are calling themselves the “London Resort Company Holdings”. The group has already apparently signed the deal with Paramount to make attractions and theme the park to their various Film and TV properties.
Now, while this sounds like fantastic news for sure for everyone involved, I do have some reservations myself as to if this will really happen. Over the years I’ve seen numerous park projects, all claiming to have signed deals with Paramount, only to vanish into this air a year or two later. Anyone remember the Paramount Park announced for Japan back in 2004? Paramount Movie Park Korea was announced back in 2007 and appeared to have started ground clearing in 2009, but has yet to open. Paramount Park Spain was first announced in Fall 2010, but appears to have not gotten much beyond the initial groundbreaking ceremony. So lets hope the fact that the property is already owned and that there seem to be serious partners involved this time, that we’ll see this park actually get built for once.