Malaysian developer plans to go ahead with former Fox World park

December 21, 2018, 10:00 AM · The developers of the theme park once known as Fox World Malaysia are going ahead with plans to open the park, even without Fox branding.

Fox World Malaysia had been set for an opening in the first half of 2019, featuring next generation rides from top franchises and manufacturers, including the "Duel Power Coaster" hyped by Dynamic Attractions at last month's IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando. However, shortly after the Expo, park developer Genting sued Fox and its new parent Disney in a Los Angeles court, claiming that Fox had pulled out of the licensing deal at Disney's instruction.

Fox and Disney both dismissed the claim as "without merit," pointing to missed deadlines by Genting. Genting, in turn, blamed Fox's foot-dragging in providing IP assets and giving approval for their use. As is typical in these disputes, ultimately it will be up to lawyers, judges, and perhaps a jury to settle the claims.

But what about the park? There's a nearly-completed theme park sitting in Malaysia, waiting for the final touches that will allow it to welcome fans. The park is one part of a major expansion of Genting's casino resort, the only land-based casino in the country. (It was the presence of that casino in the project that Genting alleges set off Disney, causing them to pull support for the project.)

Genting executives this week vowed to go ahead and open the park, though the company has clarified that it does not know yet exactly when it will be able to open. Since it now appears that Fox really is out, the park will need to strip all Fox branding from its shows, lands, and attractions — a process that by itself could take many weeks.

And then there's the question of what replaces that branding. Simply patching the missing stuff and proceeding without any theming would require the least amount of time up front, but risks diminishing the appeal and value of the park over time. Finding a new IP partner or developing original IP for the park would minimize the damage from the loss of Fox, but would require pushing the opening back by months.

Ultimately, Genting's decision how to proceed will help determine whether this casino-adjacent theme park becomes the next Universal Studios Singapore... or the next MGM Grand Adventures.

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