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MCA Confirms It Plans Theme Park in Spain or Paris

September 17, 1987|KATHRYN HARRIS | Times Staff Writer

MCA, already building its second studio tour attraction in the United States, confirmed Wednesday that it is planning to build a major theme park in Europe but provided no other details.

"We are going to do something in Europe," said Charles S. Paul, the MCA vice president who oversees new acquisitions for the entertainment conglomerate. The executive confirmed that MCA has narrowed its selection of possible sites to Spain or the outskirts of Paris, where a rival theme park operator, Walt Disney Co., plans to open Euro Disneyland in 1992.

As reported Wednesday by The Times, sources have said MCA hopes to open its theme park by 1992 to coincide with the Olympic Games scheduled in Barcelona, Spain, that summer. There are indications that MCA may be searching for a site near Barcelona, since that city enjoys a mild climate on the Mediterranean and offers Spain's second-largest population center.

According to the sources, MCA would use partners and independent financing to build the project, which could cost $500 million or more. The theme park would include sound stages for movie and television production, a studio tour and resort facilities.

If MCA selects a Paris site, it will square off once again with Disney, the largest theme park operator. In the past year, the two companies have announced plans for competing studio tour attractions in Southern California and central Florida.

Disney Chairman Michael D. Eisner said Wednesday that he was unaware of MCA's project in Europe, but said he has "no problem with MCA doing whatever they're going to do." Even if MCA builds near Euro Disneyland, he said, "I can't spend my time worrying about MCA."

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