February 15, 2013
DreamWorks Animation and REGIONS GC Form Landmark Alliance to Develop Theme Parks in Russia
Europe's Largest Indoor Theme Parks Planned in Moscow, St Petersburg and Yekaterinburg
GLENDALE, Calif., Feb. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Guests of all ages can anticipate an all-new entertainment experience unlike any other as DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) and REGIONS Group of Companies have signed a licensing agreement to develop Europe's largest indoor theme parks, and the first to feature the franchises of DreamWorks Animation in major cities throughout Russia. The theme parks, scheduled to open in 2015, will be located in St Petersburg, Moscow, and Yekaterinburg. REGIONS Group of Companies will design, build and manage all properties.
The DreamWorks Animation theme parks will be Europe's largest year-round indoor entertainment zones, and in each instance will be part of a larger entertainment development featuring a mixed-use movie and concert hall, 4D movie theater, three-star 400-room hotel, and a retail center with 11,000 parking spaces. The height of each park will be 35 meters, comparable to a 13-floor building, giving visitors the sense of being outdoors.
Each park will feature immersive environments, state-of-the-art attractions, and character entertainment bringing to life DreamWorks Animation's beloved franchises including: Shrek, Madagascar, How to Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda, in addition to yet-to-be released DreamWorks Animation feature films including Turbo, which is set for its worldwide debut in Russia on July 11 before arriving in US theaters on July 19.
"DreamWorks Animation parks are ambitious projects unprecedented in Russia and the rest of the world. The foundation of our success lies in the DreamWorks team's wealth of experience in the field of entertainment and the experience of the REGIONS Group of Companies in developing and managing retail and entertainment centers," commented Amiran Mutsoev, Member of the Board of Directors, REGIONS GC.
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted — the third installment in the blockbuster hit franchise about the adventures of Alex the Lion and his friends from the Central Park Zoo— is currently the second highest-grossing animated film in Russia's box office history and the fourth highest-grossing film of all time in Russia. Six of the top 10 animated films of all time in Russia are DreamWorks Animation pictures: Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, Shrek Forever After, Puss In Boots, Madagascar Escape 2 Africa, Kung Fu Panda 2 and How to Train Your Dragon.
"Russia is one of the most important markets in the world for us," said DreamWorks Animation's Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Katzenberg. "All of us at DWA are extremely excited to work with REGIONS CG to be the first Hollywood studio to create not just one, but three theme parks in Russia. These parks are going to be groundbreaking cultural hubs that will give families the chance to truly enter the world of DreamWorks."
About DreamWorks Animation
DreamWorks Animation creates high-quality entertainment, including CG animated feature films, television specials and series and live entertainment properties, meant for audiences around the world. The Company has world-class creative talent, a strong and experienced management team and advanced filmmaking technology and techniques. DreamWorks Animation has been named one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" by FORTUNE® Magazine for five consecutive years. In 2013, DreamWorks Animation ranks #12 on the list. All of DreamWorks Animation's feature films are produced in 3D. The Company has theatrically released a total of 25 animated feature films, including the franchise properties of Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon and Puss in Boots.
About REGIONS Group of Companies
REGIONS GC is a vertically integrated holding comprising more than 20 different companies engaged in development and management of world-class retail property. INFOline information agency ranks it as the fourth largest retail property owner in Russia. REGIONS GC manages 29 operating properties with a GBA of over 700 thousand sq. m, located in 22 Russian cities. The Group's assets include 6 operating properties within the JUNE chain: in St Petersburg (2006, GBA: 62 thousand sq. m), Krasnoyarsk (2008, GBA: 75 thousand sq. m), Cherepovets (2010, GBA: 46 thousand sq. m), Ufa (2012, GBA: 42 thousand sq. m), Krasnogorsk (2012, GBA: 25 thousand sq. m), and Mytishchi, Moscow Region (2012, GBA: 178 thousand sq. m), as well as 23 "Siberian Town" retail centers.
The website of REGIONS GC: http://www.regionsgroup.ru, www.гкрегионы.рф
SOURCE DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc.
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EDIT: More information on this DreamWorks and other developments in Moscow from the Moscow Times:
DreamWorks Battles NBCUniversal for Theme-Park Title
18 February 2013 | Issue 5071
By Rachel Nielsen
DreamWorks Animation is challenging fellow U.S. media company NBCUniversal for the title of first major theme park operator in Russia, just as the overall entertainment-park market is heating up from competition small and large.
DreamWorks chief executive Jeffrey Katzenberg announced at a Moscow press conference that his company will open parks near Moscow, St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg in 2015, or more than three years ahead of NBCUniversal's Galactica Park in Moscow.
With the designs for the parks done and two of the sites acquired, "we're ready to go," Katzenberg said in an interview with The Moscow Times. Each site is expected to consist of a year-round theme park, 400-room hotel, concert hall, 4-D movie theater and a mall, and those components will be launched simultaneously at each site.
"They're not being built in stages or in phases," he said of the parks.
Katzenberg, a heavyweight among U.S. studio chiefs, said he has met with city officials, such as representatives from Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin's office, and with federal officials to promote the DreamWorks plan.
The cost of building all three DreamWorks parks will be roughly $1.5 billion, said Amiran Mutsoyev, a board member of Regions Group, which is DreamWorks' development partner for the ambitious project. The price tag for each park will be about $500 million and will depend on the specifics of the site, he said.
Regions has already acquired the land for the St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg projects, but it hasn't yet bought up the needed parcel for the Moscow region site, Mutsoyev said.
Both Mutsoyev and Katzenberg acknowledge that they are competing with NBCUniversal and the Universal Studios complex that it is planning to open in southern Moscow in 2018.
A spokesman for the Universal Parks & Resorts division of NBCUniversal wasn't immediately available for comment.
NBCUniversal announced its plans for Galactica Park in April, saying it was joining hands with U.S. promoter Anschutz Entertainment Group and Russian conglomerate Bin Group to build a 22-hectare complex. It is supposed to include a 150,000-square-meter Universal Studios theme park, which is likely to have rides and adventure zones. There also will be two hotels with a total of 1,100 rooms, two office towers, a sprawling shopping complex, a convention center and an indoor water park.
Like the DreamWorks proposal, Galactica Park is supposed to be an enclosed space that can be used year-round, even during Russian winters.
Mutsoyev said the DreamWorks sites will have a competitive edge over Galactica Park because they are targeted to children and teenagers, segments more profitable than the adult one, according to Regions' own research.
Regions signed a licensing agreement with DreamWorks to build and manage the sites in all three cities, the companies said.
On Friday, Katzenberg said both Regions and DreamWorks staffers "have spent countless hours together in Moscow and Los Angeles, side by side," to design the sites. Within each theme park section, there will be five to six different zones based on the most popular film franchises at DreamWorks, such as Shrek, the good-hearted green giant with bugle ears, and Kung-Fu Panda, Katzenberg said in the interview.
The character zone will have rides, shows and lots of interactions with costumed versions of the characters, he said.
Meanwhile, both American entertainment giants could be facing inroads from Lotte Group, the Japanese conglomerate that already has built a five-star hotel and business center near the Arbat and that owns Asian theme-park success Lotte World in Seoul.
A person close to Lotte's Russian operations, who declined to be named, said this week that Lotte has a local theme park in the works, but the company is clearing the proposal with Moscow's City Hall.
Lotte is "waiting for a decision from the city authorities" on what the park's location might be, the source said.
On a smaller scale, Rovio, maker of popular game franchise Angry Birds, will open a handful of entertainment sites throughout Russia in the next 12 months, Rovio chief marketing officer Peter Vesterbacka told media last week. Vesterbacka couldn't be reached by e-mail or telephone for additional comment.
Olga Zbruyeva, head of the client department at real estate firm Astera, said any big theme park would be a game-changer here. As to whether such projects are doable, "all of those questions have to do with money," she said.
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