hollywood-theme-parks-harry-potter-global.jpgDaniel Radcliffe was cast as Harry Potter at the age of 11, originally for a two-movie contract based on the J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter book series. Knowing the enormous popularity of the book line, it probably wasn’t a far stretch of anyone’s imagination that this role would propel him into the wild ride of international fame. But did anyone back then ever conceive of the notion that Warner Brothers would eventually launch a Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction at the Universal Studios Orlando as well as the soon-to-launch Universal Studios Osaka, Japan? And don’t forget the Wizarding World of Harry Potter being constructed at Universal Studios Hollywood. And some of you might remember past reports detailing the possibility that Harry Potter-themed parks would be built in Singapore and Spain. It seems the world indeed is becoming a Wizarding World.”

Nowadays, the construction of Hollywood theme parks are not only becoming the norm across the globe, but an all-out international craze. Here are just a few more mega film-based attractions that are either already up-and-running, or are in the making.

  • Amusement-park front runner, Disney, is in the midst of creating a theme park in Shanghai, China, as well as an Avatar-inspired “Pandora” theme park to open in Disney World, Orlando at the Animal Kingdom park.
  • Lionsgate is set to feature a traveling Hunger Games tour starting next summer with the hopes of expanding to a larger theme park.
  • Fox plans to open a park in Malaysia–and is planning to announce more launches based in Brazil and China–for franchises like Ice Age, Planet of the Apes, The X-Files, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • Dreamworks Animation will launch an entertainment center in Shanghai as well as indoor theme parks in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Yekaterinburg. They will feature the story lines and characters from Shrek, Madagascar, and How to Train Your Dragon.

The studios are not the owners of the theme parks located overseas, but rather they license their characters to these parks–an arrangement that allows the studios to reap bountiful profits through the selling of their consumer products as well as, to a lesser degree, ticket sales. This is all possible because of the growing emergence of today’s markets across the globe, an overall increase of the middle class, as well as an increasing enthusiasm for such kinds of entertainment by those living outside of the United States. Consider attendance of world-wide theme parks rose by 5.4 percent in 2013–and a remarkable 7.5 percent in Asia–compared to just 2.7 percent in North America.

“Anything you can do to get characters and franchises in front of those consumers will help box office sales and ticket sales going forward,” Eric Wold, an analyst who covers Lionsgate and DreamWorks Animation for B. Riley & Co., stated to The Wrap. Keep in mind, the most successful films generate at least 60 percent of their revenue from countries outside the U.S.. Theme parks represent an opportunity to maintain great profits after a film has left the theater.

“These involve zero capital from studios; their capital is the use of characters,” Wold asserted. “Theme parks can be a business onto themselves, but the core rationale is to drive awareness of the franchises and brands — not just theatrically, but home video, consumer products and all those business based on the core franchises.”

For the aspiring actor, opportunities to act and perform are ever expanding on both U.S. soil and abroad. Think of the amount of roles that need to be filled with competent, experienced, and serious actors in this new world of mega-theme parks alone. Now, it may not be the apex of your dreams to star as an ersatz super hero or wanna-be Disney princess, but experience is key in this game. And any opportunity to hone your craft and show your stuff is a blessing in and of itself. After all, park entertainers frequently start out as substitutes, and then work their way up into the more sought after positions. Whether theme parks are your thing, just imagine all the possibilities available to do your thing. Then go out there and get after, Playa!