A recent announcement by the Hong Kong government that the city's struggling Disneyland will expand with a Marvel superheroes area appears to have been premature.
“We haven’t confirmed anything about it as yet,” Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs told The Wall Street Journal. The Marvel plans are being characterized as only part of the “potential options” for an expansion of the seven-year-old theme park.
Jointly owned by the government and Disney, Hong Kong Disneyland is not only the smallest of the company's parks -- the public areas occupy about 55 acres -- but also the least successful, turning a profit for the first time in 2012. The hope is that with the success of Marvel's films in China, tourists would flock from the mainland to the new attraction. The resort now has six themed areas: Main Street, U.S.A., Fantasyland, Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Grizzly Gulch and Toy Story Land; Mystic Point opens next month.
Although Disney is walking back the government's Marvel announcement, The Wall Street Journal reports there's said to be a "senior-level agreement" in place; however, nothing is set in stone yet. It's perhaps not surprising, given that it took the shareholders more than two years to settle on a $500 million expansion that added Gizzly Gulch, Toy Story Land and Mystic Point.Disney CEO Bob Iger said a year ago that the company had begun work on concepts that would allow the superheroes to appear at “a few places around the world,” and there’s been talk since at least 2010 that Disneyland Paris could get its own Marvel area. However, Disney’s options are limited in the United States, as Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure holds the exclusive rights to Marvel characters in Florida.