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Moving Into Movies By Design

The Goddard Group has a reputation for building attractions such as the Six Flags Monster Mansion at Six Flags Over Georgia and other theme parks, resorts and museums. But now the popularity of “The Hunger Games” and other films based on young adult novels has nudged founder Gary Goddard back into the film business. Goddard has started a division of his North Hollywood design firm to produce feature films and already has three projects in the works based on science fiction and fantasy novels. Adding in film work is a natural progression given Goddard’s background in the theater, movies and television. “That is a great love of mine,” said Goddard, who wrote and directed “Masters of the Universe” in 1987 and scripted “Tarzan, the Ape Man” in 1981. The themed attraction work is family friendly and the films Goddard is developing with the financial backing of outside investors will be as well. Goddard described “Escape From Furnace” as being in the mold of “The Hunger Games.” It’s a story set in a futuristic society where young offenders must survive in the hellish Furnace Penitentiary. “Janissaries” is based on a series of best-selling science fiction novels, and “Jexium Island” is a book that Goddard read as a child about a daring rescue of children from a secret island. The young adult and family film market is hot and some of the most successful film franchises – “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” among them – appeal to that audience. “If you are successful with the first one the books are there to continue (the story),” Goddard said. All three films are in the pre-production phase. Writers are being engaged and the expectation is to have scripts ready within five to six months, Goddard said. “We are starting small and have big ideas,” Goddard said. “I have done things like this before and have a good shot to bring this to fruition.” Meanwhile, the company’s theme park work continues to go full tilt. Its 45 employees are working on a series of theme parks and other attractions in China, Russia and Armenia, including Magic World, said to be the first theme park built in Russia. – Mark R. Madler

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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