US-owned Twentieth Century Fox Fil Corp (Fox) and Genting Malaysia Bhd will announce a collaboration to breathe new life into the Genting theme park in Genting Highlands, Pahang, and bring it up to grade with its newer parks.
Sources told The Malaysian Reserve the two companies are scheduled to announce the project later this week and that the new attraction will open for business by 2016. The scope and cost of the project was not disclosed.
In April, a foreign media report speculated that Fox and another US entertainment company, Warner Bros Entertainment Inc, could be making plans to enter the Asian theme park scene as a way to promote their film and television shows.
The report quoted consultancy AECOM’s global director for leisure and cultural service Chris Yoshii: “For some media companies it’s not just about the theme park but part of a whole series of efforts to promote films and TV shows...theme parks are a physical manifestation of this trend”.
Last month, Genting Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay announced that it is investing at least RM3 billion to renovate its Genting Highlands resort to compete with standards set at its newer operations in Singapore and the Philippines.
It has been speculated that Genting Malaysia was securing foreign partnership to redevelop the resort operated by Resorts World Genting.
Genting Malaysia’s profits suffered a decline of 1.8% last year to RM1.4 billion compared to RM1.43 billion in 2011, while revenue for last year showed 7.1% year-on-year decline to RM7.9 billion.
For first-quarter 2013, Genting Malaysia recorded total revenue of RM1.87 billion compared to RM1.9 billion the preceding year.
In Malaysia, its leisure and hospitality business recorded revenue of RM1.34 billion, a 3% increase from a year earlier, contributed mainly by higher volume of business and hold percentage in the premium players business.
The theme parks recorded lower ticket sales last year — three million compared to 3.4 million in 2011.
Lim said the idea to renovate the resort was to double the group’s profits, adding that while the company has been making substantial investments abroad, it is time attention be drawn back to its homegrown resort.
Through the facelift, Genting Malaysia hopes to tap into the expanding regional gaming market, while it grows the international premium players business.
The theme park’s outdoor and indoor attractions are part of Genting Highlands Resort’s key tourist highlights, aside from Casino de Genting.
Genting Malaysia also owns six hotel properties at Resorts World Genting — Maxims Genting Highlands Hotel, Theme Park Hotel, Resort Hotel, Awana Genting Highlands, Golf & Country Resort and the 6,118-room First World Hotel, touted as the world’s largest hotel in Guinness World Records.
Aside from Resorts World Genting, Genting Malaysia owns Resorts World Casino New York City in the US and over 40 casinos in the UK. In Malaysia, Genting Malaysia also operates two seaside properties — Resorts World Kijal in Terengganu and Resorts World Langkawi.
Fox’s previous venture with theme parks in the region is the Fox Backlot Studios cinema and television theme park in Sydney, featuring a Simpsons attraction and a Titanic ride among others which opened for operations in 1999. However, after two years, it closed its doors in October 2001.
Meanwhile, local travel agency, Capricorn Travel Services Sdn Bhd MD Thomas Yap said: “The makeover would be advantageous for Genting Malaysia”.
He cited increasing competition from existing regional attractions like Universal Studios and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, and the upcoming Legoland Water Park in Iskandar Malaysia in Johor.
In 2010, Universal Studios in Singapore opened its doors as South-East Asia’s first of its kind theme park and this US$4.4 billion (RM14.04 billion) resort includes the city-state’s first casino.
Elsewhere, it was reported that Fox is looking for a location for a theme park and speculators had predicted China to be fertile ground.