Marvel Experience is booked for 12 days, beginning June 24, at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, its first run inside a stadium.
The ink is just dry on the deal to open Alvin & The Chipmunks at Massey Hall, Toronto, Oct. 5.
The new family show will play theaters in 53 markets involving 80 performances from October through December, said Stephen Shaw, president, Global Touring for Iconic Entertainment Studios, formerly known as S2BN.
Michael Cohl, founder of S2BN, explained that name was always temporary. “I named it because I was getting an award right after I left Live Nation. The guy introducing me asked the name of my new company. I said Soon To Be Named, S2BN.”
Iconic Entertainment Studios, referred to as IES, is also bringing Marvel Experience to permanent venues after testing the waters in parking lots last year. It will open June 24 at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, where it will play on the field for 12 days.
Cohl also updated the status of a new Transformers spectacle he’s been working on for three years. “We’re still working on it; we’re not there yet so I can’t give you anything meaningful or concrete. Hopefully in the next month or two I can say we’ve started putting our crew together.”
While the show has been conceptualized and he believes they can bring realistic Transformers to life, as has been done with dinosaurs, the next phase of putting the team and financing together will take at least 18 months. “We are confident we can do it,” Cohl added. “I’m stubborn and I believe in it.”
This mammoth undertaking has nothing to do with the failed attempt to bring Jesus Christ Superstar to arenas in 2014, he said. With that show, Iconic Entertainment Studios took a big risk in the beginning “and said so to everyone including Andrew Lloyd Webber. No one else wanted to try it. We agreed as long as we had an exit strategy, and we learned we were right in the first place. If I had it to do again, I wouldn’t. It was supposed to involve a lot more from Andrew Lloyd Webber. We took the risk to try something bigger.”
ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS
Cohl had a lot of fun with Yo Gabba Gabba which was touring five or six years ago. Alvin is “our next kids' show. We were looking for the right moment to do another young people’s show.”
20th Century Fox, from which Alvin is licensed, announced a new movie, Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, as its fourth installment, to be released in December.
The beauty of this property, versus Yo Gabba Gabba, is that it is global. Cohl said 60 percent of the audience for the film is outside the U.S.
“As we did with Yo Gabba Gabba, we’ll up the ante with special effects and a better quality production and technological presentation in which to present the Alvin story,” Cohl said.
Shaw said the production will cost $2 million. The biggest expense is costumes and animatronics. The storyline has the Chipmunks gearing up for a big music tour, which culminates in a festival. The 90-minute musical will cover songs from great bands and artists, everything from Maroon5 to Elvis Presley, he said.
It’s a show for all ages, Shaw added. It’s not just kids asking parents to go; it’s parents wanting kids to experience the Alvin they grew up with.
Merchandise will be handled by Perryscope Merchandise.
After its 12-day run in Philadelphia, Marvel Experience will play McCormick Place in Chicago and the Park Armory in New York, Shaw said.
Tickets are priced $25-$50 and “sales are good,” he said, projecting it will draw 45,000-65,000 at Lincoln Financial Field.
“We ran three markets last winter,” he said of the outdoor test, noting it sold 40,000 tickets at Salt River Fields near Phoenix, 30,000 at a lot of the Cotton Bowl, Dallas, and 40,000 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds near San Diego.
“It’s a big show. We wanted to piggyback on infrastructure of existing venues, because we were touring with our own power, water, bathrooms, fencing, trailers and box office. We wanted to test out the big markets using their infrastructure, partner with them,” Shaw said.
Marvel Experience is open all day and generally becomes a one to two hour visit per patron. It features a 3D holographics stereoscopic dome; 4D motion ride; and an augmented-reality digital wall where one can simulate flying with Iron Man or climbing with SpiderMan. “It’s fun, young, exciting and technologically quite advanced. It’s a really great show for families,” Shaw said.
IES is promoting it in house. It will tour through September and then be reassessed.
Interviewed for this story: Michael Cohl and Stephen Shaw, (646) 545-5302