Paramount Parks announces intention to build park in Japan

Posted Thursday, July 29, 2004 9:56 AM | Contributed by Jeff

[Ed. note: The following press release was issued this morning.]

Paramount Parks announced today that the company has reached an agreement with Japan Trade, Inc., of Fukuoka, Japan, and its U.S. partner, Gateway Entertainment Group, LLC, of Orange County, Calif., to jointly develop and construct a world-class theme park in Japan featuring attractions and venues based on the Paramount studio’s rich archive of more than 3,000 film and television properties.

Under terms of the agreement, a Japanese holding company will be formed by Japan Trade, Gateway and other shareholders to fund the development and construction of the project. Paramount Parks, in exchange for service, design and consulting fees will have the option to acquire a minority interest in the holding company. The park will be designed, constructed and managed jointly by Paramount Parks and the holding company.

“This is an exciting project for us as we expand the Paramount Parks brand and our operations into Asia,” said Alexander Weber, Jr., president and CEO of Paramount Parks. This agreement represents a great opportunity for Paramount Parks, Japan Trade, Gateway Entertainment and the Fukuoka region in Japan. The project would certainly be one of the premier entertainment complexes in Asia.”

Japan Trade and Gateway, with the collaboration of the local municipality and various landowners in the area, has acquired land for the project in Hisayama Township, near Fukuoka, Japan and Paramount Parks has developed a customized park concept and development plan for the site.

The movie studio theme park will anchor the complex and will occupy 85 acres of land. It will include five highly themed zones featuring Paramount’s world-renowned brands. The attraction mix is designed to appeal to a broad spectrum of park goers and will bring to life, the vast array of entertainment experiences in the Paramount library … from Hollywood classics and adventure films to popular cartoons, action adventure hits and science fiction blockbusters. The attractions will immerse guests in the Paramount-branded experiences through a variety of intense thrill rides, water attractions, children’s adventures and multimedia and live entertainment shows. (The Paramount Parks in North America feature popular attractions based on movies and television shows like Top Gun, Tomb Raider, Star Trek and Nickelodeon.) The Japan project has been designed to appeal to young and old alike and draw both regional and travel market visitors.

The initial feasibility study for the project was executed by Economics Research Associates, of Los Angeles, Calif.

In addition to the movie studio theme park, the concept master plan for the site includes the development of several related educational and creative facilities adjacent to the park, including:

  • An independent educational center focusing on the advancement of entertainment arts and sciences in Asia
  • A state-of-the-art IT center emphasizing media and entertainment
  • And studio facilities for the creation of films, television programming and music

UCLA Extension’s Department of Entertainment Studies will act as the primary anchor for the educational center.

The Hisayama site will also feature a resort style complex with three luxury hotels for guests visiting the park and/or the educational center.

When complete, the entire complex will be a world-class entertainment facility for Fukuoka region.

“Paramount is pleased to announce this partnership for the development of a movie studio theme park in Japan. We have long held an interest in this strong market and we are excited to take this next step in the development process,” said Michael Bartok, executive vice president – business affairs for Paramount Parks.

Kazunori Yamasaki, president of Japan Trade, stated, “I am delighted that we are able to make a public announcement about this project. This would not have happened without cooperation of all people who are concerned with this project. I hope this project will contribute to the economy and employment of Fukuoka, my hometown. I am determined to push forward with all of our effort to the opening of the park targeted for 2010.”

Michael DeStefano, president of Gateway added, “We are extremely pleased with the progress of this project. Our American and Japanese teams worked very hard on the Paramount movie studio park concept and it is exciting to see the project move to the next level. We are confident that the park will be a great success and offer tremendous economic benefits to the citizens of Hisayama, Fukuoka City, and Japan. We look forward to starting the Design and Development phase in the coming months.”

Thursday, July 29, 2004 10:07 AM
Wow, this looks great! I am really liking that Paramount Logo themed ferris wheel too!
Thursday, July 29, 2004 10:14 AM
Great move for Paramount Parks, the park looks great!
Thursday, July 29, 2004 11:20 AM
So is this going to be more like an Orlando type park or one of Paramount's U.S. parks?
Thursday, July 29, 2004 11:55 AM
I thought the Japan economy still sucked?
Thursday, July 29, 2004 11:55 AM
^ I'd guess kind of a hybrid of an Orlando park and a Paramount park...along the lines of Warner Movie World.
Thursday, July 29, 2004 11:56 AM
None of the Paramount US parks were built by Paramount or intended to be movie parks.
Thursday, July 29, 2004 12:17 PM
When's the speculation gonna begin on what coasters they will get? I see two in the picture.
Thursday, July 29, 2004 2:18 PM
I for one am not going to get too excited over the coasters, considering that a trip to Japan isn't in the plans for awhile. There are other places in the world that I want to visit first. The park plan does sound nice though and it should be good, considering that this will be Paramount's first park that they will build from the ground up. I just wish that it was being built here ;)
Thursday, July 29, 2004 2:35 PM
Now that I see 2010 opening, that makes a great trip for my Sophomore year in college!
Thursday, July 29, 2004 3:48 PM
Yah...I thought a bunch of parks closed in Japan recently.

Quite a change in direction for Paramount. Should have built it here in San Diego though. ;)

Thursday, July 29, 2004 4:06 PM
Or, try fixing the isht they got here in Santa Clara! ;)
Thursday, July 29, 2004 4:10 PM
First off, yes, Moosh.... the economy is still in terrible shape. I think it's an amazingly bad choice by Paramount, but perhaps the economists are predicting a sudden shift? A bit odd to me....

Pale Rider, you need to get to Japan. So many rides, most of which are truly original. Yummy!

Thursday, July 29, 2004 4:34 PM
Am I the only one who thinks that studio based parks are sooo 1990s?

After its record breaking debut year the Tokyo Universal park has declining attendance and many japanese parks are struggling to survive.

I wonder how long the plannings for this park were in the pipeline and maybe it was too late to cancel the whole project (wouldn´t be the first time that important communication is "lost in translation")

But the "Paramount Wheel" looks too good to be true...

Thursday, July 29, 2004 5:09 PM
Recessions don't last forever. Japan will come out of it, probably sooner than later.
Thursday, July 29, 2004 5:38 PM
I wonder what rides will be copied from the Paramount Parks they have now.
Thursday, July 29, 2004 5:47 PM
See, to me, this sounds more like an attempt at an IOAesq park, but it could be a WB movie world type park as well. I hope to get to Japan in the next 2-3 years, and if this does become a reality, It looks like I'll be going again in 2010.

I think that, given the oppotunity, Paramount could build a great park. Some of their stuff is highly themed, but as stated before, their U.S. Paramount Branded parks weren't built with Paramount in mind. But take a look @ Terra Mitica. It looks very nice, though I don't think the park is doing stellar. Maybe its because it only has one theme.

This, on the other hand, is more more more. Studios, a park, Hotels, educational/intaractive centers. No doubt eventually they'll add a water park (if its not going in in the beginning), and maybe even a Pleasure Island/Downtown Disney/City Walk type area.

This could be great, but I hope that the recession ends before the park is finished:).

Thursday, July 29, 2004 6:35 PM
Slowly but surely, PKI is becoming a real movie park with thrill rides. Tomb Raider was a good start. Next year's ride will be a good continuation of that.
Thursday, July 29, 2004 9:13 PM
It will take a long time for PKI to become a Moive park. Frist they have to keep the park open year around and theme it just alittle better. The themeing they have is ok for a seasonal park. People forget the Kings Island closes down for the year and then reopens the next year.
Thursday, July 29, 2004 9:40 PM
Isn't that the wise thing to do? Winter can get awefully harsh and Orlando parks stay open year-round only because the weather is warmer there and they continue to get tourists. Even they have pretty slow crowds in the winter/offseason. It doesn't have to be a year-round park to be a movie park.

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