Batman, Superman, Bugs Bunny, Tom & Jerry, and Scooby-Doo are headed to the Middle East.
A Warner Bros. theme park that will make generous use of the company’s DC Comics, Looney Tunes, and Hanna-Barbera libraries is currently under construction in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
Warner Bros. and UAE government-owned developer Miral announced this week that the first phase of the $1-billion theme park will debut in 2018. The park will be located on the man-made Yas Island that is also home to a Formula One race track, a Ferrari-themed amusement park, and the largest waterpark in the Middle East. The world’s only Warner Bros.-branded hotel will open at a later date alongside the park; the island already has seven hotels, a golf course, a mall, concert arena, and over 100 dining options.
More from the press statement:
Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi will bring together stories and characters from the Studio’s unparalleled portfolio of DC Comics Super Heroes universe including Batman, Superman and Wonder Women as well as Warner Bros. Cartoons such as Bugs Bunny, Scooby-Doo, and Tom and Jerry. Guests of all ages will be able to step inside Gotham City and Metropolis, and experience the cartoon worlds of Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera and more, all under one roof.
Kevin Tsujihara, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment, said that the theme park will be “a fully-interactive, innovative and unique experience that will allow fans of all ages to experience the most exciting aspects of Warner Bros. in a completely immersive environment.”
The UAE government hopes that the theme park will increase the visitor tally to Yas Island from 25 million people in 2015 to 30 million by 2018.
From the perspective of Warner Bros. the park sounds like a win-win. Not only is the UAE one of the leading tourist destinations in the Middle East, but it also seems (at least from the press statement) that the oil-rich country is footing the entire construction bill, which means that Warner Bros. doesn’t have to do anything besides license its properties to the developers.
As oil prices decline, the UAE is pressing forward with an ambitious tourism strategy. The country announced plans last month to develop a Walt Disney World-style resort called Dubai Parks & Resorts that will house a Six Flags theme park, Legoland Dubai, Motiongate Dubai, and Bollywood Parks Dubai. The first phase of that development is set to open this fall.