Is a Marvel theme park coming to a Shanghai near you?
In the latest issue of D23, the official Disney fan club magazine, President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige talks about his interest in taking the Marvel brand even further into a territory Disney knows well: theme parks.
"It's the biggest dream of all. We get to tap into this spectacular team [Disney Imagineers] that is better than anyone else on the planet at bringing fantasy to life, not only on the big screen but in the real world," Feige said.
When Disney bought Marvel in 2009, there was a legal issue about how the characters could be utilized in the theme parks, because Universal already owned the theme park rights. Their Islands of Adventure park in Orlando has an entire island dedicated to Marvel heroes, with their Adventures of Spider-Man ride and Hulk rollercoaster both major headliners. The legal work around ended up being pretty complicated, and while Disney is able to profit on the Marvel merchandise sold at Universal, they are unable to use the Marvel characters in any theme park east of the Mississippi, including Walt Disney World.
Disney recently announced that they are going ahead with a theme park in Shanghai, and this park is not bound by the legal tethering that Walt Disney World finds itself (neither is Disneyland in Anaheim, but they’ve run out of space for the most part.) The Shanghai park is slated to open in 2015, but Disney has been tight lipped on details. They are certainly looking to establish the Marvel and Disney brand in that part of the world even further, so don’t be surprised if you will one day be able to shake hands with Mickey Mouse and Wolverine all in one place.
Written by Chris Harder