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Sony Pictures is giving fans of some of its most popular titles and franchises the chance to immerse themselves in the worlds of Ghostbusters, Uncharted, Zombieland and more as part of a new 45,000 square-foot entertainment destination.
The studio will launch Wonderverse, its very first immersive entertainment destination, this December just outside of Chicago on level one of the Oakbrook Center. The space will feature a hybrid of physical and immersive multimedia experiences, interactive installations, dynamic attractions, and themed dining experiences, based on major film, TV and video games including Uncharted, Ghostbusters, Jumanji, Bad Boys, Zombieland and 21 Jump Street.
“Wonderverse is an exciting expansion for Sony Pictures’ growing location-based entertainment experiences,” said Jeffrey Godsick, evp of Global Partnerships and Brand Management and head of Location Based Entertainment at Sony Pictures. “Experiences like Wonderverse provide audiences the opportunity to enjoy our brands in new ways by immersing themselves in some of their favorite stories.”
Uncharted fans will double as explorers in a series of themed escape rooms with a connected storyline experience — The Heist, The Hunt, and The Return — that see them working to unearth hidden treasure, solve challenges and complete quests.
Ghostbusters fans will join the VR Academy for a chance to become a real Ghostbuster. Through two distinct virtual reality experiences, fans can either enter the Arena, where they will suit up with proton packs as you outsmart and catch spirits, or enter the driver’s seat of an Ecto hovercraft, in Blitz where participants compete to see who’s the fastest and most skilled driver in a high-speed race.
Those with a need for speed will have access to another racing adventure the Bad Boys Racing Club, which allows them to hop on racing simulators as part of a high-speed chase through a Miami-inspired skyline, with illuminated photo-ops.
Zombieland lovers will have two options to explore at the entertainment destination, beginning with a creative spin on bumper cars, in which one car is selected as Patient Zero, and the others must avoid getting bumped to remain uninfected and stave off a fate as a zombie. Fans can then head over to the arcade experience, Pacific Playland, which was inspired by the decrepit carnival in the film and let’s you compete among the undead to win prizes.
The final experience helps realize the classic adventure film Jumanji, with fans thrust into a virtual reality game where they must find a stolen jewel, stop the spread of evil and reverse a curse.
Themed food and drink options include a hidden speakeasy, The Ghost Trap, where ghostbusters can toast with fellow ghost catchers and their spirits in a place where the paranormal exists around every corner; and a limited time 21 Jump Street-themed pop-up bar experience, where attendees will head back to school for cocktail chemistry or join an art class for a “paint and sip” night.
That’s in addition to the general Commissary Bar — led by Pernod Ricard’s mixologist Jane Danger and featuring specialty cocktails, mocktails and light bites — and the full-service Commissary Restaurant — led by industry veteran Chef Scott Donaldson and offering a full menu of food, desserts and cocktails.
Getting into Wonderverse is free, with attractions individually priced and tickets available to be booked in advance. Guests of all ages are permitted up until 7 p.m., after which the space becomes a 21+ environment, but those under 16 most be accompanied by an adult at least 21 years old.
“We’re thrilled to be the first location for Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Wonderverse and have it as our largest entertainment option at Oakbrook Center”, Tim Geiges, senior general manager of Oakbrook Center, said in a statement. “We often hear from guests how they love our mix of entertainment, so we’re excited to offer a completely new experience for them to enjoy, especially as we approach the colder months.”
Previews begin in December 2023 ahead of the official January 2024 opening, with tickets and more information available at the Wonderverse website.
The immersive experience follows renewed commitments in the experiences and parks space by both Universal and Disney. The latter announced in September it was investing $60 billion towards expanding its parks experiences, with a new Frozen land already slated for their Hong Kong park and resort. It has also been a busy year for Universal, which announced a children’s and family-focused park in Frisco, Texas, a horror-focused attraction set in Las Vegas; a new Fast & Furious coaster at the L.A. park, which also opened Super Nintendo World at the start of 2023; and an ongoing expansion in Florida with the Epic Universe park.
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