Joe Utichi contributes to Deadline’s UK coverage:
A Paramount-branded theme park will be built in the Thames Estuary near London under plans unveiled today. The $3.2B plan for the Swanscombe Peninsula, less than 30 minutes from the capital, will create 27,000 jobs and regenerate the 872-acre site, a former cement works which is twice the size of the nearby Olympic Park. Speaking to Deadline, a source familiar with the deal said it was the latest in a series of licensing arrangements Paramount has engaged in. They include a similar Paramount park in Spain, and a Star Trek-themed resort in Jordan. “This is not an investment situation and Paramount is not developing the project in a true sense,” the source said. “Paramount’s partners will lead the way, and the company will consult on their plans.” The deal includes Paramount’s highly valuable movie properties. Rides and attractions are likely to be themed around IPs like Star Trek, Mission: Impossible and Transformers, though the form they will take has yet to be set in stone. The company was “going through the creative process of arriving at the most compelling attractions”.
Overall plans include a water park, hotels and restaurants, and cinema and music venues. It’s the second attraction from a Hollywood studio to open in London, after the successful launch of the Making of Harry Potter attraction at Warner Bros. Studios in Watford earlier this year. But unlike the Warner Bros. base, there will be no attached film production facilities.
The project’s licensee, London Resort Company Holdings, aims to open the park in 2018. “Over the next 12-18 months we will be progressing the planning application,” said Tony Sefton, the project’s leader, “while embarking on a wide-reaching programme of community consultation, [and] securing further commercial agreements with third parties. Our vision is to create a world-class entertainment destination, the first of its kind in the UK.” It will be an easier development than the Olympic Park, he said, thanks to better conditions on the site. “We are going to learn from the amazing Olympics and the games-makers.”