Paramount's getting back in the theme park business

May 10, 2007, 10:12 AM · One year after selling its North American theme parks to Cedar Fair, Paramount is moving back into the theme park business -- this time in South Korea.

The studio announced today plans to invest $1 billion in a theme park in Inchon, south of Seoul. Paramount will partner with South Korean automaker Daewoo, which willl provide the land for the project. The first phase of the park will open in 2009, with completion skedded for 2014.

South Korea is home of some of the world's most popular parks, including Lotte World, but no U.S. companies have built on the peninsula before now.

Replies (4)

May 10, 2007 at 10:42 AM · What? You mean that there is STILL a US-based Theme Park Design Industry? Didn't all of that mighty entertainment machinery get "repurposed" into museum development?

Yes, like the life of Mark Twain and the pre-infomercial career of Brittney Spears, news of the death of the "out of home, themed entertainment experience" industry has been greatly exaggerated. Well, that of Twain and theme parks, anyway.

Aw, yes! the sun is rising over a new era of themed entertainment! Whoop! Once again, otherwise sensible people will leave their sanity behind to toil in the rich field of themed design and development.

But . . . after all of these years, with all of the finest minds in the business -- and mine, too -- having gone the museum route? Will there be a period of adjustment? Will we still have the chops to Get The Big Immersive Fun Done? Or will the themed entertainment client whine be, "well, we want this to be wacky! What we don't want is the Louisiana State Museum here!'

Naw, friggit, like riding a bike or padding an expense account, the themed entertainment mojo is e-rpommed into our fixated brains.

So, soggy cups of Starbucks? Check! Wind up walking "Replacement-in-a-trench coat" toy? Got it. Ability to say "But where's the weenie?" without giggling? You bet!

C'mon, Professional Funsters . . . let's get themed!


-- E "Eddy" Edwards,

May 10, 2007 at 11:49 AM · Maybe Paramount wanted a real themed park comparable on the levels of USF/USF with the movies. Maybe they also figured that trying to build that up in all of their existing parks would cost to much and just starting from scratch someplace else would be cheaper.
May 10, 2007 at 9:03 PM · 1 billion into a Korean park? Why not invest in the American marketplace? I know that there is a lot of competition here and none there with lower costs overseas, but a billion would still buy one heck of a playland here. Most of the former Paramount parks were seasonal parks, which is probably why that kind of money wasn't invested there, but they could have been successful in a warm tourist marketplace in the US with the right design. Of course if it's anything like before, they will trim that figure as they go along.
May 11, 2007 at 10:50 AM · Interesting article.

The property in Inchon is owned by Daewoo International Motor Sales, not the manufacturing division. Paramount is not investing $1 billion dollars of their own money since they are basically a licensing division of Paramount/Viacom responsible for leveraging Paramounts intellectual properties into themed attractions. Paramount no longer has a fully staffed attraction development division that can masterplan and design a full theme park. I believe they are contracting with private design firms to do this with financing from Daewoo. This is probably an effort to take the concept to a presentation level to lure investors into financing the full cost.
The first phase is scheduled for 2009...which is a stretch, but the Mayor of Inchon wants something on the property before he is out of office in three years. A new bridge connecting the Songdo area to Inchon proper is scheduled to be completed by 2009 which should improve visitation. The Asian Games are coming to Inchon in 2014 and this is the completion date for the full build out.

It will be interesting to see how all this plays out considering the difficulty in doing business in Korea.
I would question the feasibility of such a large endeavor for the Songdo area unless a critical mass of resort hotels and other amenities is provided for in the final build out.
One thing is certain, Brad Pitt, Angelina Joile, and other "A" list stars will have to be enticed to show up...and the Korean developers will expect them to.
Good luck to Daewoo.

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Buy Tickets

Plan a Trip

Get News, Discounts