Why Netflix Is Opening Theme Parks in Malls


Netflix wants you to get off your couch and go to the mall. 

The streaming giant announced on June 20 that Netflix House, a new project that will see the company open two massive theme-park-like attractions in former department store spaces located in Texas and Pennsylvania, will open to the public next year. These venues will include interactive experiences, merchandise, and food, all inspired by popular Netflix shows. 

The original plans for Netflix House were actually revealed back in 2023, but few details were announced. In a new blog post on Tudum, Netflix's official news website, the company teased what kinds of experiences fans can expect, like waltzing into the romantic world of Bridgerton or taking part in an obstacle course challenge straight out of Squid Game.

Previously, Netflix has teamed up with other companies to create in-person experiences related to their shows. Sandbox VR, which operates virtual reality arcades in malls globally, recently teamed with Netflix to create a virtual reality "Squid Game" experience. It's unknown if Netflix will partner with other companies to create experiences for Netflix House. 

The first two Netflix Houses, set to open in 2025, will be located at Pennsylvania's King of Prussia Mall and Texas' Galleria Dallas. According to the blog, the company picked those two locations because "they are part of two of the most popular shopping centers in America, boasting hundreds of retailers, high foot traffic, and proximity to major cities." Both locations will have more than 100,000 square feet of space.

In the U.S., some malls are transforming from shopping destinations into experiential hubs as a part of a gambit to bring crowds back in the age of online shopping. According to a Q1 2024 report from real estate services company JLL, Macy's plans to close 50 mall locations in 2024, presenting both challenges and opportunities. Many of those locations have been taken over by experiential tenants like Bowlero, Surge Adventure Park, and Dave & Buster's. 

Marian Lee, Netflix's chief marketing officer, said in the blog that after launching more than 50 experiences in 25 cities, "Netflix House represents the next generation of our distinctive offerings. The venues will bring our beloved stories to life in new, ever-changing, and unexpected ways."

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