Merlin could pull plug on Shrek’s Adventure roll out
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Merlin could pull plug on Shrek’s Adventure roll out

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It’s almost a year since Universal’s parent company Comcast acquired DreamWorks, and now Merlin Entertainments boss Nick Varney has to decide what to do with its Shrek’s Adventure midway.

DreamWorks IPs include Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon, characters and worlds that translate well into themed entertainment environments. But since Merlin partnered with DreamWorks, Universal swooped in with its US$3.8bn (€3.6bn, £3.1bn) buyout.

Varney said in an earnings call that he had met Universal in January and that there were no concerns about them seeing out the standing contract with DreamWorks, which was for six Shrek’s Adventure midways globally, the first of which opened in London in 2015.

“We were pleased with the London attraction and it’s doing well,” Varney said. “What we don’t have from Universal is a guarantee that beyond these six we can continue to roll out more. And so right now we are assessing whether we are going to do the other five, whether we are going to switch to another IP or, basically, selectively do ones in big city centres where we think they’d do well.”

Varney added that the relationship is positive and that Comcast could well still be contemplating what to do with the DreamWorks acquisition going forward. However, it’s possible that Merlin will decide against rolling out the Shrek’s Adventure midway as was previously planned.

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It’s almost a year since Universal’s parent company Comcast acquired DreamWorks, and now Merlin Entertainments boss Nick Varney has to decide what to do with its Shrek’s Adventure midway.
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JP Lennard
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