Continuing our look at 10 anticipated new attractions in 2019, we hit the biggest mystery on the list.
Fox World Malaysia was supposed to open sometime in the first few months of 2019. (Actually it originally was slated to open in 2016, but that's another part of this wildly complex story.) Themed to many of the film studio's most popular franchise, the highlight of a major expansion at Malaysia's Resorts World Genting includes some potentially world-class rides and attractions. An entire new theme park, with first-class ride systems, based on widely popular IP? Seems like a sure thing. So what's the mystery?
When... and even whether... it will open.
You see, Disney bought Fox, and... yada, yada, yada... Fox pulled its license for the park's IP. That pushed Genting to sue Fox and Disney in a California court. The case remains to be heard, but Genting is vowing to go ahead with the park, even without Fox branding.
Rides and even entire lands have changed themes before, but can a developer rebrand an entire theme park and all of its attractions in one go? Legoland Florida took over the old Cypress Gardens, but that was more a case of appending a new park to an established core than changing the theme and story on a park's worth of already built (or nearly built) attractions. The closest precedent I can recall is the conversion of Circus World to Boardwalk and Baseball back in the 1980s. But that was substituting one generic concept for another. More common is the simple loss of a studio theme, which happened when Warner Bros. Movie World Germany became Movie Park Germany and Universal Studios Port Aventura reverted to PortAventura Park. (Disney dropping the MGM name from its now-Hollywood Studios really didn't affect anything other than the park's name and logo.)
If Genting chooses to substitute generic branding for Fox IP, then perhaps it can get this park open and running with minimal delay. But if it wants to fulfill the promise of what was to be Fox World, then Genting will need some well-defined stories and world-building to support its rides and shows. Obtaining or developing those — not to mention retconning attractions under construction to fit them — will take at least months, if not more than a year.
So even if the Park Formerly Known as Fox World does not open in 2019, its future promises to be remain one of the more anticipated stories of the new year.
Tomorrow: Will there be a new "wildest ride in the wilderness" in 2019?
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