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Time Warner Completes Six Flags Purchase : Amusement: Company will use more of its cartoon characters at theme parks, including site near Valencia.

September 21, 1993|REBECCA BRYANT | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

It's official. Batman and Bugs Bunny rule the roost at Six Flags.

The company that owns the characters, Time Warner Inc., on Friday completed a $70-million purchase of Six Flags Theme Parks, the New Jersey company that operates seven parks in the United States, including Six Flags Magic Mountain near Valencia.

"We're really thrilled with the decision," said Eileen Harrell, Magic Mountain spokeswoman. "We're looking forward to continuing to incorporate the Warner-themed material in our attractions."

Time Warner bought half of Six Flags in 1991, saving the theme park operator from financial trouble that threatened to force bankruptcy or the sale of some of its parks.

"We felt it is a strong business," said Time Warner spokesman Edward Adler. "It has already improved under Time Warner."

Time Warner's hand can already be seen in Magic Mountain's Batman stunt show, the Yosemite Sam Sierra Falls ride and Dennis the Menace screen test. Eight Warner Bros. cartoon characters roam the park, looking for children to charm.

Harrell credits these family-oriented attractions with increased attendance.

"We had a record June and July," she said.

Besides Bugs Bunny, Time Warner plans to use more faces from the company's cache of cartoon and movie characters at the parks, Adler said.

For example, two new Batman attractions will debut in the spring at Magic Mountain: "Gotham Backlot" and "Batman the Ride," Harrell said.

Other movie studios have hopped on the theme park ride.

MCA--which owns Universal Studios--and the Walt Disney Co. have long been identified with theme parks, and Paramount Communications Inc. bought a chain of four theme parks in August, 1992.

Between 60% and 65% of attendance in the theme park industry now comes from movie studio-affiliated parks, said Harrison Price, an industry consultant based in Torrance.

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