All aboard the 2019 Hype Train for That Park in Malaysia

December 28, 2018, 5:37 PM · 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?

Replies (5)

December 28, 2018 at 8:35 PM

Not to mention the difficulty of doing any kind of major work when the site is built into a steep mountain surrounded by a integrated resort with access issues...and yet, Genting insists they will have this theme park open in 2019. Despite their lawsuit centering on Fox and Disney making it impossible to open. Perhaps The Mouse will cut a deal for the use of the existing 20th Century Fox IP for just this one venue- it's not like Disney theme park guests or brands are impacted in any way nor are these IPs a relevant part of their plans for 20th Century Fox anyway. Does anyone truly care if a theme park at a Malaysian casino resort has attractions based on Rio or Ice Age? Does anyone see any time in the foreseeable future where Disney will use any of these specific IPs at any real Disney theme park?

December 30, 2018 at 5:28 AM

I remember "Canada's Wonderland" retheming to "Paramount: Canada's Wonderland" back when the movie studio purchased the park from Kings Entertainment back in the early 1990s. The rides, shops and restaurants all became themed to movies - but really in name only. Then Cedar Fair bought the place in the 2000s, and it all just reverted back, with little more than a sign change and a few tweaks to the queue theming. Top Gun became Flight Deck; Tomb Raider became Time Warp; Cliffhanger became Riptide; Italian Job became Stunt Coaster; and (my favorite) Drop Zone-Stunt Tower became Drop Tower-Scream Zone. Depending on the amount of theming to the rides, a whole park can apparently change over the period of a single Toronto winter.

It might be quite easy for Malaysia Resorts Genting to have Ice Age become Mammoth Glacier Coaster; Alien Vs Predator to become Dogs & Cats Space Fight; Night at the Museum to become Haunted Gallery; and Life of Pi to become My Lifeboat Adventure with a Tiger.

December 29, 2018 at 11:42 AM

"My Lifeboat Adventure with a Tiger" just became my new all-time favorite attraction name.

December 29, 2018 at 4:47 PM

FWIW, Universal didn't actually get their name on the masthead until a few years after PortAventura opened. They didn't add any intellectual properties of their own (except for a few walkabout characters, which the park still license to this day) so not much changed other than signage.

December 30, 2018 at 9:13 PM

Marvel Studios: Ten Years of Heroes at Singapore's Marina Bay Sands. I don't see Disney stopping Marvel from working with a South East Asian casino resort.

So I totally don't get why Disney is stopping Fox from working with Genting. Especially since Disney does not even actually own Fox yet!

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