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Netflix to open 2 massive venues with experiences, shops themed to its shows

CNN  —  Netflix is opening massive entertainment venues in two cities that it says will allow fans to immerse themselves in the worlds of their favorite shows. The ‘experiential’ complexes, called Netflix Houses, will include elaborate events, themed gift shops and restaurants. In a repurposing of empty retail space, the houses will occupy former department store locations at Dallas Galleria and King of Prussia Mall (near Philadelphia). Both will span more than 100,000-square-feet and are set to open in 2025, according to the streamer. It’s Netflix’s TV tweak on a theme park. For fans of its “Squid Game” dark drama and related reality show, for example, Netflix promises to recreate the program’s Glass Bridge Challenge. Competitors walk or jump across clear panels that shatter – and drop them – if they stand on the wrong one. It’s a risky move. Critics of the expansion note that attracting repeat business will be challenging. “One of the keys to success will be to keep the offer refreshed, so that it keeps people coming back to what’s new,” said Neil Saunders managing director and retail analyst at GlobalData. Netflix has already had considerable success with elaborate touring productions and events tied to some its their higher-profile programming. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is currently hosting a tour of “Bridgerton” High Tea, Toronto, Canada has the “Knives Out” dinner party (about $116 per person, US) and São Paulo, Brazil has an immersive “Stranger Things” experience. Risks and rewards All this is not a new idea, though. “Disney has monetized its content for years and has a very successful retail business through licensing,” said Saunders. Shonda Rhimes, Golda Rosheuvel and cast members visit The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience in New York on April 30, 2023. Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Netflix TikTok influencer and product reviewer (3.8 million followers on TikTok) Carrie Berk has attended “The Queen’s Ball” a “Bridgerton”-themed Regency Era experience twice, in two different cities. She thinks Netflix’s new venture will be met with success. “I think that it’s brilliant that Netflix is bringing that magic IRL!” she said. For years (the show launched in 2020) the “Queen’s Ball” has been staged in various cities two or three times daily. Fans could enjoy dances and watch performances by violin players and acrobats dressed in historically-accurate garb under chandelier light.In keeping with the show’s plot, the Queen named a “Diamond of the Season” at each performance. Social media influencers were invited to write a letter and make their case for why they should be chosen, illustrating Netflix’s keen interest in the social media world. “Netflix House represents the next generation of our distinctive offerings,” said Netflix Chief Marketing Officer Marian Lee, in a statement. “The venues will bring our beloved stories to life in new, ever-changing, and unexpected ways.” The company described their vision for Netflix House as a “year-round home for fans to live the stories they love.” Berk agreed and told CNN of her experience, “It really made me feel like I stepped into the world of the show.”