DreamWorks’ New York Circus… Afro, Circus, Afro
Matthew is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
(If you have kids, by now that Madagascar 3 song reference has been forever burned into your brain.)
When I mention theme parks, the first thought likely to come to mind is Disney World, Disneyland or the other worldwide Disney Park and Resorts properties owned by The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS). That or maybe you are a fan of the regional amusement parks. When I was a kid, my absolute favorite was Paramount’s Kings Dominion just outside of Washington DC, now owned by the amusement park operator Cedar Fair (NYSE: FUN). Whichever name comes to mind first, it likely isn’t a Shrek or a Kung Fu Panda theme park… primarily because there aren’t any theme parks based on those characters… yet.
Flash back to earlier this month when DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ: DWA) made a rather interesting, but largely unnoticed announcement. The animation studio and the Triple Five Group announced the creation of a theme park based on DreamWorks Animation’s stable of animated characters.
The Triple Five Group is a multinational shopping mall, hotel and real estate owner and developer. They are the force behind such notable tourist attractions as the Mall of America. Triple Five is currently building (approximately 80% complete) an ambitious project, a retail, entertainment and amusement complex called American Dream Meadowlands.
Sports fans are likely familiar with the name Meadowlands; the home of the NFL’s New York Giants and the New York Jets. Located only 10-miles from Time Squares, the heart of New York City, American Dream Meadowlands is just a stone’s throw away from the Giants and the Jets’ MetLife Stadium.
American Dream Meadowlands will be a massive complex that will feature such attraction as a year-round 16-story indoor ski and snowboard park, a glass-domed, heated indoor water park (also year-round), a 26-screen movie theatre, 150,000 square feet of dining and an indoor ice rink in the middle of a massive retail mall. And last, but certainly not least, a full-scale, glass-domed, climate-controlled, year-round, indoor DreamWorks Animation theme park.
The theme park will be the first to exclusively feature characters from DreamWorks Animation’s many film franchises. The park will incorporate characters, storytelling and technology to create a Disney World-like experience using characters from Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, How to Train Your Dragon and others.
Scheduled to open in the fall of 2013, American Dream is internally estimated to receive 40-55 million visitors annually. That estimate is for the entire complex, mind you. Not specifically for DreamWorks’s theme park. For comparison, Triple Play’s Mall of America (in tiny Bloomington, Minnesota) receives an impressive 40 million visitors annually. 40-55 million visitors annually for this New York City attraction might be a bit on the conservative side.
Anyway, in the fall of 2013 American Dream and the DreamWorks theme park will open for business just a few months before the start of Super Bowl 48. And most opportune for American Dream Meadowlands and DreamWorks, as Super Bowl 48 will be played in… you guessed it… the Meadowlands at MetLife Stadium. Just across the relative street.
What better time to be open for business than right on the eve of the biggest media circus of the year? Happening at your next door neighbor’s place, no less. In the middle of a freezing New York winter during the week long festivities, what better place is there to receive an influx of tourists, sports fanatics and world media? Maybe that warm, comfy, climate controlled complex just down the street? A great way to kick-off your grand opening.
Will this single attraction dethrone the king of media and theme parks, Disney? No, of course not. That’s a silly question. Why would you even ask that, inner-narrator? What it will do is allow DreamWorks Animation to become a slightly more diversified company. Despite DreamWorks Animation’s recent box office successes, the stock has not responded positively. Just the opposite in fact. Starting on May 26, 2011, DreamWorks has produced a string of three movies that each has grossed over half-a-trillion dollars. Since that time however, the stock has fallen 23%.
Diversifying their revenue stream away from blockbuster-reliant sources just might be the kick in the pants this stock needs. While this alone is small, it could be the start of something more. About two years ago, DreamWorks Animated entered into a strategic deal with Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE: RCL) to develop a DreamWorks cruise experience for parents and their children. That is another strategy out of the Disney playbook (Disney Cruise Line). This is in addition to the live events 'Shrek the Musical' and 'How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular' (out of the Disney Live playbook). Emulating a successful formula created by a successful company. A diversified revenue stream allowed Disney to easily recover from the box office flop known as John Carter. Might be on a smaller scale for DreamWorks, but there is no shame in copying Disney’s game.
Polka dot! Polka dot! Polka dot! Afro!
(Sorry. I couldn’t resist. I had to finish that darn song.)
WhichStocksWork has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend DreamWorks Animation and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.If you have questions about this post or the Fool’s blog network, click here for information.