The studio that took over Hollywood with films like Kung Fu Panda, the Madagascar series, and Shrek is planning to take over a stalled New Jersey mall with a theme park. The company announced on Wednesday that it had agreed to license its characters, storytelling and technology for a theme park at an as-yet unused Meadowlands megamall just 10 miles west of New York City, in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
In a joint statement, Jeffrey Katzenber, the Animation CEO at Dreamworks, and the mall developer said that the indoor theme park would create "a unique and innovative family entertainment experience." No other details were given.
Spokesman Matthew Lifson said it the company would not operate or invest in the project, which would be the first theme park created entirely from Deramworks Projects. However, some Dreamworks characters are currently seen the Australian theme park called Dreamworld. Plans for a similar project in Dubai fell through.
The studio was looking for a U.S. presence and considered the American Dream Mall to be a good fit. Lifson said the studio is hopeful that the park becomes an international tourist attraction.
Triple Five, the mall developer of Alberta, Canada that took over the project two years ago, said it hopes the mall and theme park open in in 2014, but that it was unlikely for the space to be open in time for that year's Super Bowl, which will be held at nearby MetLife Stadium, where the New York Jets and the New York Giants play their home games.
Spokesman Alan Marcus said financing and design work remain to be completed. According to USA Today, "Plans for the mall include an indoor ice rink, ski and snowboard park, water park, movie theaters, restaurants, retail stores and a live performing arts theater."
Originally named Xanadu, the space was scheduled to open in 2007. Instead, it remains unfinished and empty, and New Jersey's governor Chris Christie has called it one of America's ugliest buildings.
Triple Five plans to make changes, and Marcus said developers are confident the entertainment additions will make it successful.