Cirque du Soleil Acquires Producer of 'Now You See Me' Live Show

Now You See Me promo-Publicity-H 2019
Courtesy of The Works Entertainment

The price tag was roughly $40 million for The Works Entertainment.

Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group said Wednesday it has agreed to purchase The Works Entertainment, the company that has partnered with Lionsgate in the production of a live magic show based on the hit film franchise Now You See Me.

Cirque du Soleil, known for its live shows in Las Vegas and in about 450 cities worldwide, didn't disclose the purchase price, though insiders say it was roughly $40 million and that financing for the acquisition came from a new $120 million credit facility the company has obtained.

The purchase marks the third in a few years for Cirque du Soleil after acquiring Blue Man Group in 2017 and VStar Entertainment Group, which specializes in children's shows, in 2018.

The Works was founded in 2012 by creative producer Simon Painter and executive producer Tim Lawson. Its other franchise live shows include The Illusionists and Circus 1903 — The Golden Age of Circus, both of which play in venues worldwide, as does Now You See Me. Painter and Lawson are staying with the company.

With The Illusionists, The Works has created a "scaleable" magic show because it is not reliant on any particular headliner but on a crew of magicians that varies across the world. "That's what triggered our interest," said Cirque du Soleil CEO Daniel Lamarre. 

"The Works productions have natural affinities with our own, in that they are high-quality universal live experiences that appeal to different audiences from different cultures around the world without having to adapt the show to each market," said Lamarre.

Lamarre also told The Hollywood Reporter that a seventh Cirque du Soleil show is in preproduction in Las Vegas, this one for the Luxor Hotel. He said the yet-to-be named show is "inspired by the movie industry," including special effects and stunt men and women. "We're hopefully creating a new category of show," he said.