Halliburton (NYSE: HAL ) isn't the only stateside behemoth moving into Dubai. Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Captain America are heading out there, too. Marvel (NYSE: MVL ) will license its comic-book characters to a $1 billion theme park that will open in Dubai come 2011. The equivalent of a billion bucks being invested by the Al Ahli Group for an amusement park? That's Disney (NYSE: DIS ) scale, my friends.
This isn't the first time that Marvel's superheroes have gotten the thrill-park makeover. At Universal's Islands of Adventure -- a Florida park partly owned by General Electric (NYSE: GE ) -- guests can tame Magneto's storm, join Spider-Man in capturing Doctor Octopus, have their fear drained dry by Dr. Doom, or go along for Hulk's loopy transformation.
On the Ontario side of Niagara Falls this past summer, I also spent some time in a Marvel arcade, complete with themed bumper cars, shooting galleries, and a miniature golf course. The Dubai park isn't the first time that Marvel will license its fleet for the sake of attractions. Let's hope it's not the last, either.
It's not just about the licensing revenue, or the merchandising possibilities within the park itself. The key here is that the park in Dubai will likely draw millions of guests annually. This should be huge in terms of brand-building overseas, creating a larger international audience when Marvel-based films hit the silver screen.
This isn't something to take lightly. Major studios like Sony (NYSE: SNE ) and News Corp. (NYSE: NWS ) have been putting out the Marvel action-hero flicks thus far, but Marvel is now bankrolling its own productions. The production slate may be pretty busy come 2011, if the initial results vindicate Marvel's decision to cut out the studio middleman on many of its untapped properties.
Each of the first two Spider-Man films generated more overseas box office revenue than they did domestically for Sony. So if we find ourselves come 2012 in a crowded theater in Dubai screening Captain America II (and this is obviously conjecture -- the first Cap movie is slated for 2009), you may very well find yourself thanking a theme park.
How's that for a real super power?
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz enjoys taking his family to amusement parks of all sizes, all over the country. Dubai would be quite the trek, but getting there is always half the fun. He owns shares in Disney. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.