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NEW YORK — News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products unit has struck a deal to bring an original live show based on Fox’s Ice Age film franchise to global audiences starting next year. The show, “Ice Age Live! A Mammoth Adventure,” will combine ice skating, aerial arts, film and puppetry and be produced by some of the minds that brought the world Cirque du Soleil.
Under a deal signed with European live entertainment producer and promoter Stage Entertainment, the show is scheduled to premiere in early Nov. 2012 at the Wembley Arena in London and embark on a five-year tour of more than 30 countries. and “take audiences on an awe-inspiring journey with a new story based on the first three films,” the partners said. The company didn’t immediately disclose other cities and countries that will be visited.
The live event will bring one of the most successful global animated film franchises — with more than $4 billion in box office, home entertainment and consumer products sales — into a new form of location-based entertainment. Location-based opportunities are a current focus for Fox Consumer Products as it looks to allow fans to interact with popular characters in new ways. The company has previously struck deals to bring The Simpsons and Ice Age rides and experiences to theme parks, but the new live extravaganza marks a new frontier for the Fox unit.
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“Its creation furthers our commitment to bringing the very best in live entertainment to fans and we couldn’t think of a better partner to blaze this new frontier with than Stage Entertainment,” said Robert Marick, executive vp of Fox Consumer Products.
He also told The Hollywood Reporter: “This is the very first time we’re creating such an immersive experience. It is part of our broader location-based strategy. Consumers want to immerse themselves in brands.”
Added Jeffrey Godsick, president of Fox Consumer Products: “’Ice Age Live! A Mammoth Adventure’ is going to be a truly groundbreaking, live entertainment experience that will amaze and delight not just fans of the Ice Age franchise, but anyone seeking a truly unique live stage show.”
And since it is not a Broadway or stage show that remains in one place, “it allows audience accessibility,” he added. “Ice Age is a global property and a global success, and we want to allow fans [and others] to interact with it in new ways.” Internationally, it is the No. 1 animated film series.
Cirque du Soleil productions veteran Guy Caron will serve as the show’s director, while story, music and lyrics will be created by Ella Louise Allaire and Martin Lord Ferguson (Cirque du Soleil, Holiday on Ice). The costume design team will be led by Michael Curry (Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney, Olympics).
Financial details of the live event arrangement weren’t disclosed, but Fox is believed to get a licensing fee and part of the show’s revenue.
Marick and Godsick said the company will explore additional opportunities for location-based forms of entertainment experiences, citing Avatar, Planet of the Apes and other franchises as ones having potential in this area.
For Ice Age, the time is ripe, they said, given that it has become so established on the big screen, in consumer products and now on TV with the recent debut of an Ice Age television holiday special, Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas. The fourth installment of the film series, Ice Age: Continental Drift, will hit theaters in 3D in July.
After the U.K. launch, the live show will travel through Europe before going to the U.S. The Asia Pacific region is also on the tour list.
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