Lionsgate has announced plans for a Times Square-based entertainment complex that will include attractions based around some of its biggest franchises, including John Wick. Certain movie studios have iconic brands associated with them. When one hears “Disney,” they often associate it with Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Snow White, rides at Walt Disney World, and now, characters from the Star Wars and Marvel franchises. “Warner Brothers” brings to mind Bugs Bunny and other Looney Tunes characters, and also Batman and the other DC Comics characters.
Lionsgate, on the other hand, doesn’t exactly carry that sort of cultural weight. In fact, it’s only been around since 1997 and was known as “Lions Gate” until not that long ago. It’s known primarily as a TV production house, which produced such series as Mad Men, Weeds, and Nurse Jackie. On the movie side, it’s known for The Hunger Games and John Wick films, and its acquisition of Summit gave it control of the Twilight series. Now, however, Lionsgate is going to have another big presence, in the heart of New York City.
Deadline is reporting that a deal has been reached for an “indoor entertainment center,” in New York’s Times Square, with Lionsgate branding. It will be the first of several entertainment centers around the world that Lionsgate and leisure park operator Parques Reunidos now intend to develop together. The New York location is set to open in 2019, although the exact location in Times Square has yet to be revealed.
The center will feature attractions based on various Lionsgate properties, including John Wick and Hunger Games rides, a Divergent obstacle course, and a “dining and lounge experience” based on Mad Men. There will also be restaurants and food options based on the properties, as well as a 4D theater and a Lionsgate studio store.
Can this idea work? It’s certainly risky, for a number of reasons. Times Square real estate is among the most expensive in the world. The Lionsgate brand is not nearly as easy a sell as Disney, nor does it have any tie to the live attractions business - and by the time the attraction opens, the Hunger Games and Divergent franchises will be pretty far in the past. Plus, great as Mad Men was, not that many people watched it - and if the venue doesn’t allow smoking, which is normally the case in New York, then it won’t really feel anything like Mad Men.
Even so, a Mad Men-themed restaurant by itself sounds like one of the more fun potential attractions in New York City. It would just have to enforce a radically different dress code than the Hunger Games attraction.
The Lionsgate attraction is scheduled to open in Times Square in 2019.