The developer of a special effects-driven theme park planned for Bartow County, northwest of Atlanta, said Monday it has signed a partnership with the producer of the Hunger Games film franchise to provide some of the gaming and virtual reality content to be featured in the park.
Avatron Park executives said in a news release production company Lionsgate will license the Hunger Games, Step up and Now You See Me film franchises for attractions within the park, located in Emerson, near Lake Allatoona. The planned park is about 40 miles northwest of downtown Atlanta.
The attraction is part of Lionsgate to get into the theme park business like Disney. The announcement Monday coincided with a similar one for a park in Macau.
Lionsgate is licensing its intellectual property. The risk will be on the developers.
Partners and siblings Jo and James Ram said Monday they hope to close on the purchase of about 700 acres near Emerson and Cartersville along Paga Mine Road.
They are still in the process of obtaining financing for the $625 million park, the partners said.
The park, first announced in March, would feature attractions with special effects that “will be like being inside a video game,” company CEO David Garrett said at the time.
The developers plan start construction next year and open a first phase of project in January 2019.
The developers are working on other content as well, including discussions with toy manufacturers and video game makers.
“At this point we’re still planning the attractions with the studio,” Avatron President Jo Ram said. “We’re still very much in the early planning stages.”
In a news release on Monday, Avatron officials said the park will feature multimedia entertainment, including “Hollywood storytelling and cutting-edge special effects.” Attractions will have the technology to be able to respond to fans.
“Our interactive platforms cannot be replicated to scale inside the home,” Ram said in the release. “The goal is to deliver the most technologically advanced and real-time socially engaged, entertainment experience.”
Like many traditional theme parks, Avatron would feature “lands” or zones dedicated to individual films or other franchises. Most of the park will be indoors.
The Hunger Games franchise, much of which was filmed in Georgia, is the best known of the three included in the Lionsgate partnership. It tells the story Katniss Everdeen and a rebellion in the post-apocalyptic society of Panem. The fourth film installment is set to premiere Nov. 20.
Step Up is a franchise that tells the story of street dancers, while Now You See Me, which has a sequel coming next year, is a story about illusionists who pull off daring heists.
In a filing in March to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the company described a “totally immersive, technology driven theme park drawing on the expertise of Hollywood’s leading visual effects professionals.” The project also would include two hotels, retail and a music venue.
The details are included in a Development of Regional Impact notice, a filing aimed at alerting the Atlanta Regional Commission and neighboring governments of large projects so that they can prepare for potential effects such as traffic and demand for schools and other services.
The music venue is likely a second phase project, the partners said.
“We want to create the whole 700 acres as a destination,” said James Ram, Avatron’s vice chairman.
To read more about the park plans, check out the Tuesday print edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution or click here for our subscriber website story.