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Experiential Licensing: Merlin Bringing Jumanji To Life in Sony Licensing Deal

By Allison Watkinson

TLL Reporter

Merlin Entertainment has entered into a formal, multi-territory, licensing exclusivity agreement with Sony Pictures Entertainment for the studio’s Jumanji film franchise.

The licensing exclusivity agreement will extend across Europe and North America.

Merlin Entertainment is a global leader in location- based entertainment and visitor attractions. The company operates over 139 attractions, 23 hotels and 6 holiday villages in 24 countries and across four continents.

The first attraction that will be launched will be the first ever Jumanji ride at Merlin’s Gardaland Resort in Italy.

“Merlin is the ideal company to bring the world of Jumanji to life,” said Jeffrey Godsick, EVP of Global Partnerships and Brand Management and Head of Location Based Entertainment at Sony Pictures Entertainment.

“Their commitment to strong storytelling, quality of craftsmanship and fantastic guest experiences ensure that fans of Jumanji will be fully immersed into the worlds of our films and have an unforgettable experience. I am very pleased to expand our relationship with the great team at Merlin.”

Merlin is teaming up with Oceaneering and Framestore for the development of the upcoming ride at Gardaland. The new Jumanji – the Adventure attraction will be an adventure experience designed for all ages.

The licensed Jumanji attraction will launch on April 2022, with the simultaneous launch of themed Jumanji hotel rooms. A second attraction based on the film franchise is already in development at a different theme park, which has a planned launch in 2023.

The deal supports Merlin’s broader global strategy to engage and work with leading IP and brands across its global estate. The agreement is also a pivotal step in Sony Pictures’ global strategy to expand its location-based entertainment assets through the company’s global film and TV brands.

““We are excited to be taking our relationship with Sony Pictures Entertainment to the next level with this strategic partnership,” said Mark Fisher, Chief Development Officer for Merlin Entertainment. “Sony is one of the top movie companies on the planet and Jumanji is a multi-billion-dollar brand which has appealed to guests of all ages, for over two decades.

“Our Merlin team are already hard at work developing brilliant creative concepts, which will bring to life the blockbuster-famous Jumanji film across our Theme Parks and Waterparks,” Fisher added. “We can’t wait to deliver thrilling rides and experiences for guests and film fans alike! The game is certainly on.”

The collaboration further builds on Merlin’s past relationship with Sony Pictures Entertainment. The companies have previously collaborated on two themed experiences. This includes the Ghostbusters 5D ride at Heide Park in Germany and the Ghostbusters experience at Madame Tussauds in New York.

Sony Pictures’ Jumanji franchise is based on the award-winning children’s book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. The Jumanji film franchise’s continued success has made it Sony’s biggest wholly-owned film franchise. The three Jumanji films have earned over 2.1 billion at the global box office.

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