You may not remember it, but once upon a time, 20th Century Fox began planning an amusement park of its very own. Announced in 2013, "20th Century Fox World" was set to be located in Malaysia, very close to Kuala Lumpur. It would have featured rides and attractions based on the films of Fox, most notably franchises like Ice Age, Rio, and Planet of the Apes. We're thinking that in the case of the latter, they would be basing rides on the recently completed trilogy of films starring Andy Serkis, and not the Tim Burton remake. If that was the case, we may never get to experience "Caesar's Worried Coaster of Pathos" or "Mr. Koba's Wild Machine Gun-Packed Ride." (Full disclosure: Those were never real rides, of course.)
That's because Variety is now reporting that the park will likely never happen because of the potential Disney/Fox merger. The Malaysian resort company that was developing the park filed a billion-dollar lawsuit in federal court on Monday, accusing Fox of attempting to get out of their deal. The company in question is Genting Malaysia Berhad, and they have already sunk $750 million on the Fox theme park. But according to Variety, the park was already running years behind schedule.
Genting Malaysia alleges in the filed suit that Fox has taken steps to cancel the contract, and the suit also named Disney as a defendant. It claims that the project has been co-opted by Disney executives, and that they are opposed to it because of its proximity to another large resort run by Genting Malaysia — the Genting Highlands Resort, which includes a casino. The suit maintains that Disney wanted nothing to do with a "gaming company" because of their "family friendly brand strategy." According to the suit (and Variety), the project's cancellation would also require a substantial amount of accelerated payments to Fox.
Going by original estimates, the park should already be here by now — it was supposed to be open by 2016, which may explain their inclusion of a ride based on the much-forgotten Rio. They are now hoping for 2019, but the suit claims that Fox is using the constant delays as justification for ditching the entire enterprise. Genting Malaysia blames Fox for the delays, one of the reasons being that Fox did not provide digital assets to them for their Ice Age characters. They also claim that their efforts to use clips from the original Planet of the Apes were stifled, because Fox didn't want to send a letter of support to Charlton Heston. They sought the use of 177 clips, but only got 52.
At this point, Genting says several attractions at the park are almost ready to go, among them are a ride called "Independence Day — Defiance," and another called "Night at the Museum — Midnight Mayhem."
As the suit alleges, “There is little doubt which group’s executives will be in charge after the merger and what their view of Fox World would be given their desire to protect Disney’s theme parks from competition in the increasingly competitive Asian market." Fox has issued a notice of default, which requires Genting to open the park within the next 30 days. But that... doesn't seem possible. Genting maintains that several other rides are under construction.
So, sorry, Rio enthusiasts... your dreams of "the movie is now the ride" may be dashed for good. This is one theme park that may, in the end, spare all expenses.