Warner Bros. Entertainment along with ALDAR and the newly established Abu Dhabi Media Company have formed an unprecedented, long-term, multi-faceted strategic alliance calling for the creation of a theme park and hotel, jointly owned multiplex cinemas, a co-finance agreement covering feature film production and the development and publication of videogames, and the build-out of the infrastructure for Abu Dhabi's digital transformation.
The deal was unveiled on 26 September by Barry Meyer, Chairman & CEO and Alan Horn, President & COO, Warner Bros.; Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Chairman and Ronald Barrott, CEO, ALDAR; Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Chairman and Riyad Al Mubarak, CEO, Abu Dhabi Media Co.; and Hunt Lowry, who brought the two parties together and will serve as the CEO of the yet-to-be-named film company formed by this venture.
"We are thrilled to be partnering with ALDAR and the Abu Dhabi Media Company on these exciting endeavors and look forward to a very long, mutually beneficial relationship," said Meyer. "We are so impressed by ALDAR's mission and philosophy. It is a first-rate company, led by first-rate executives. We look forward to working alongside ALDAR and the Abu Dhabi Media Company to not only create an exciting and unique cultural destination in Abu Dhabi, but to have the opportunity to extend the Warner Bros. businesses and brand throughout the region."
"This strategic announcement demonstrates the depth of our commitment to building Abu Dhabi in a holistic way bringing the best in entertainment to the communities we are creating. International alliances are a core element of our strategy to lead the industry by example, delivering value to our shareholders, customers and partners alike," added Al Sayegh.
"This is such a unique deal and really the beginning, albeit a grand beginning, of a partnership that will allow our companies to embark on a multitude of projects on a multitude of entertainment platforms," added Horn. "I echo Barry's sentiments that we could not have chosen better partners than ALDAR and Abu Dhabi Media Company, particularly as their commitments to universal cultural values and the environment are so closely aligned with ours."
"This strategic alliance marks a major step in Time Warner's commitment to grow its businesses internationally," said Time Warner President and COO Jeff Bewkes. "Working with its partners ALDAR and the Abu Dhabi Media Company, Warner Bros. continues to capitalize on its world-class brands and expertise to grow its international business in creative and collaborative ways."
"I think it is crucial that Abu Dhabi has a position on the world stage, and that means mastering every field. Entertainment is a massive part of Abu Dhabi and its future, and through this agreement with Warner Bros. all parties have underlined how iconic the emirate will be in this field. From theme parks to hotels and cinemas, this agreement will put Abu Dhabi at the center of the world's entertainment map," said Al Mazrouei.
"In my very first discussions with Ahmed, I knew Abu Dhabi and Warner Bros. were a perfect match," said Lowry. "I am thrilled to have been able to bring these two world-class parties together. It will be great to be making movies with Warner Bros. again and to nurture the growth of film and media in Abu Dhabi."
"This is a great opportunity for us to expand our local language film production business to a new region, developing talent both in front of and behind the camera," said Richard Fox, Executive Vice President, International, Warner Bros. "As is our practice around the globe, we'll work closely with our partners each step of the way to impart our filmmaking experience and expertise, making sure that we're respectful and supportive of local customs and mores, both in our local film production and across all of these in-territory businesses."
For the hotel and theme park project, Warner Bros. Entertainment will rely on its vast experience in character and brand marketing and licensing, drawing on select properties from its live-actio