Hollywood studio DreamWorks Animation has agreed to license its characters for use in a new indoor theme park that will be constructed close to New York City.
The park is expected to form part of the American Dream Meadowlands mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and will be the first to be exclusively based on DreamWorks characters. It is expected to include rides and shows based on popular franchises including Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda.
DreamWorks has partnered on the project with Triple Five, a Canadian firm that specialises in the development of malls. There are a still number of obstacles to overcome before construction work on the theme park can begin, including securing finance and planning permission. The New York Jets and the New York Giants, who play at the nearby MetLife Stadium, are currently trying to block the American Dream Meadowlands project through the courts.
The American Dream Meadowlands mall is also set to host a water park, a snowboard park, an ice rink, restaurants, movie theaters and a large number of retail outlets. If all goes to plan, DreamWorks and Triple Five hope that the theme park will open in 2014.
Describing the licensing deal, DreawWorks' CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said: "American Dream at Meadowlands is poised to become a one-of-a-kind retail and entertainment destination in North America. We look forward to working with Triple Five Worldwide to incorporate DreamWorks Animation characters, storytelling and technology into a unique and innovative family entertainment experience at the venue."
The project to build a mall in East Rutherford was originally approved in late 2003, when it was known as Meadowlands Xanadu. The exterior was completed in 2008, with a significant amount of interior work having also been undertaken. However, work ceased in May 2009 after a subsidiary of the bankrupt Lehman Brothers investment bank missed payments, causing other backers to pull out.
DreamWorks has previously licensed its characters for use in individual theme park attractions, such as the Shrek 4-D shows at Universal Studios theme parks. It had previously agreed to license its properties for use in a park that would have formed part of the ambitious Dubailand project, but this deal collapsed following the 2008 credit crunch.