In an attempt to duplicate the success of its Florida studio tour, Walt Disney Co. will open a French entertainment production facility and tour next to Euro Disneyland in 1996, the Burbank company announced Thursday.
Disney MGM Studios-Europe will, like the Disney MGM Studios Theme Park that opened in May at Florida's Walt Disney World, be a combination working studio and theme park. Located 18 miles east of Paris, the $2.5-billion, 4,800-acre Euro Disneyland is scheduled to open in 1992.
The studio tour will further Disney's strategy of producing more movies and cartoons in Europe for the European and world markets, the company said.
"In addition to the already opened television and motion picture animation company in France, employing 100 artists, we are excited at the prospect of bringing additional full-scale movie and television production to Europe while providing guests with the entertainment magic of a second Disney theme park," said Disney Chairman Michael D. Eisner.
Disney did not release any cost figures for Disney MGM Studios-Europe or indicate when construction would begin. The Florida studio attraction took nearly two years to build, a Disney spokesman said.
"I think it's going to be a big winner," said Paul C. Marsh, an entertainment analyst with the Bateman Eichler, Hill Richards brokerage firm in Los Angeles. "Twenty miles outside Paris all you have is the Chateau de Versailles, and Louis the 14th is no match for Mickey Mouse."
The French attraction will be developed, owned and operated by Euro Disneyland S.A., which is jointly owned by Walt Disney Co. and public shareholders.
The French studio tour will house attractions "that explore the magic of the movies" including a backstage look at movie and television production filled with earthquakes, explosions and flash floods, the company said. Among the attractions will be a Muppet Movie ride and a high-speed Dick Tracy Crimestoppers ride.
The studio tour will feature representations of three well-known Los Angeles streets: a recreation of Hollywood Boulevard of the 1930s and '40s; trendy Melrose Avenue; and Sunset Boulevard, "a step back into the fun and innocence of the 1950s," the company said.
The planned studio also will be available for rent by the European entertainment community, Disney said.
The Florida studio tour has been extremely successful, noted analyst Jeffrey Logsdon of Crowell, Weedon & Co., a Los Angeles brokerage. "There's a great deal of transferability of concept and interest," he said.