Resorts World Genting Malaysia Theme Park Projected to Open in 2020 After Legal Battle

Posted on: July 29, 2019, 08:04h. 

Last updated on: July 30, 2019, 05:48h.

A delayed theme park at Malaysia’s Resorts World Genting casino could open as early as next year after Genting Malaysia Berhad recently settled lawsuits in a licensing dispute involving 21st Century Fox and the Walt Disney Company.

Genting Malaysia Berhad has settled lawsuits, over a delayed theme park at Resorts World Genting, under the direction of Lim Kok Thay, chairman of the Genting Group. (Image: AsiaOne)

Located near Kuala Lumpur — the planned outdoor park was initially known as 20th Century Fox World. It will be renamed, according to an out-of-court settlement announced last week, but the new name has yet to be revealed.

Litigation began when Genting sued Fox and Disney in November in California federal court for breach of contract. The lawsuit was for more than $1 billion.

Fox allegedly backed away from allowing Genting to use Fox’s brands for the park’s rides and attractions. The change of mind by Fox executives was allegedly due to pressure from Fox’s new owner, Disney.

Fox countersued Genting in January for $46.4 million. The company claimed Genting missed key deadlines in the theme park’s opening.

Under the new settlement, Genting can use some Fox brands at the theme park. Brands from other entertainment companies may also be seen at the park.

The parties have entered into a restated memorandum of agreement … granting Genting Malaysia a license to use certain Fox intellectual properties,” according to a filing last week. “The outdoor theme park shall also be renamed.”

Genting Malaysia further revealed in the filing to the Bursa Malaysia stock market that it is “currently updating its development and construction plans to complete the outdoor theme park utilizing both Fox and non-Fox intellectual properties.”

It remains unclear which Fox brands can be used at the theme park. Variety reported a third-party has given the okay to two rides: “Independence Day — Defiance” and “Night at the Museum — Midnight Mayhem.”

A deal for Disney to acquire Fox’s film and TV assets had been announced before the initial lawsuit. The acquisition formally took place in March for $71.3 billion.

Genting had claimed it spent $750 million on theme park construction only to have Fox pull out of the agreement. It was reported Fox officials changed their minds on details spelled out in a 2013 licensing agreement because Disney executives did not want to hurt the company’s image by association with gambling.

Disney also wanted Fox’s brands for Disney’s own theme parks, news reports said. Disney owns such globally-recognized theme parks as Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, and Disneyland Paris.

No Formal Opening Date

Genting has yet to announce an opening date for the new theme park. GGRAsia reported the park could open as early as the first quarter of 2020.

Maybank Investment Bank is predicting an early 2020 opening since the company is recruiting employees. Genting had said there would be six to nine months between hiring employees and opening the park.

In a recent note quoted by GGRAsia, Maybank said the outdoor theme park “could be opening… a lot earlier than we expected.” Maybank previously predicted the theme park would open in the first quarter of 2021.

The park initially was scheduled to open in 2016. That opening date kept changing.

The building of the theme park also may be close to completion. “We understand that construction of the outdoor theme park was approximately 95 percent completed as at July 2019,” a Maybank analyst said in a recent memo.

Financial Impact from Legal Dispute

The dispute over the theme park impacted company finances, Genting claimed. Profit at Genting Malaysia Berhad dropped over 25 percent in the first quarter, with company officials highlighting that results were impacted by the delayed park.

The company saw $64 million in first-quarter profit in contrast to $85 million for the same quarter in 2018. Quarterly revenue was approximately $654 million compared to about $573 million in the same quarter last year.

Genting Malaysia owns and operates multibillion-dollar integrated resorts. Beyond Malaysia, they are also located in Singapore, the United States, and South Korea.