Two of Lionsgate's most popular film franchises are getting an unlikely adaptation. On Monday, it was announced (via Variety) that the studio will be debuting two roller coasters at Dubai's Motiongate theme park -- one inspired by John Wick, and one inspired by Now You See Me. Both roller coasters are expected to open early next year, and offer an unexpected approach to both of the high-octane film franchises. The John Wick coaster, which is called John Wick: Open Contract, will offer riders two completely different experiences, depending on where they queue in line -- they can either aid Keanu Reeves' titular assassin in his crusade, or they can hunt him.
"You'll get two different experiences depending on which path through the queue you choose to get on the ride," Jenefer Brown, executive vice president and head of global live, interactive and location-based entertainment at Lionsgate, explained.
The coaster's design was directly influenced by the world of the film franchises, and will even allow fans to walk through the infamous Continental hotel.
"I think what's going to be amazing for fans is to have the opportunity to walk through the lobby of the Continental and experience different key moments in the settings that took place in the films," Brown said. "This attraction, in particular, is really about setting the story by putting people in this very immersive environment, and then you really get the action as you get on the coaster. It's 10 stories high, so there's definitely a level of intensity that's befitting of the 'John Wick franchise that guests will experience."
The Now You See Me coaster, dubbed the High Roller, will transport riders into a casino location, not unlike where the Four Horseman perform their magic shows-turned-robberies.
"Guests will have the experience of walking through the casino and taking part in a heist that the Horsemen are in the midst of pulling off," Brown revealed. "There will be a really great immersive story experience that leads guests on to this coaster."
According to Brown, both franchises lend themselves well to the global footprint that Lionsgate hopes to have in the theme park landscape.
"John Wick is definitely an intellectual property that we feel is perfect for location-based entertainment," she said. "Because the world is so rich and the characters are so intriguing. There's a lot of story that we can tell there in an experiential way. Now You See Me is the same way, as magic is incredibly popular and universal. Doing this first ride in Dubai I think will establish what we can do in other places around the world, and we're interested in expanding our portfolio of film franchises and TV series, in outdoor theme parks."
As for whether or not either coaster - or some sort of similar experience - could be expanded into the United States, Brown says it definitely isn't the question.
"We would love to bring these types of experiences and attractions here," she said. "I think that there has just been more opportunity to date internationally. But I think that that is changing and we're certainly exploring possibilities in North America. Hopefully, in the not too distant horizon, we'll be able to bring some of these larger-scale experiences here. In terms of these larger footprint outdoor theme park/ indoor theme park type of experiences, it's something we're incredibly interested in and focused on. It's just really a matter of finding the right opportunity and in mature markets like North America or Europe, those aren't as frequent as in other parts of the world."
When both coasters do open in 2021, Brown says it will realistically be with COVID-19 restrictions in place, in hopes of creating as comfortable of an experience as possible.0comments
"Capacity, while it may be reduced to 50%, we are seeing guests that are coming out at that those numbers and levels so I think that's really encouraging for the industry," she said. "It's going to take some time for guests to feel comfortable but I think, the good news is that a lot of the measures that are being taken at our parks and across the industry have really convinced guess that the safety and health requirements that are needed right now are there."