For the first time in two decades, Ripley Entertainment Inc. has entered a new year with a new president. Jim Pattison Jr. has taken over the helm of the quirky entertainment company, succeeding long time executive Bob Masterson who assumed the position of Board Chairman on Jan. 1 after 19 years as president.
“As I assume leadership of this amazing company, I am quick to point out that we have grown substantially every year for the past two decades under Bob Masterson’s leadership, ” noted Pattison, who has been an executive with the company since 1990. “We have a great team in place that will continue our global expansion and take us to even higher levels in all facets of our operation in 2008.”
Pattison takes over a vibrant and growing company. While attendance at the company’s two world-class aquariums and 30 Believe It or Not! Odditoriums and other attractions showed slight increases in 2007 to just over 13 million visitors, occupancy set new records during the summer season at Great Wolf Lodge, Ripley’s family indoor waterpark resort in Niagara Falls, Can.
There were good growth trends in each of the company’s branded attractions during the year. In addition to the Believe It or Not! dynasty, the two aquariums and the Great Wolf Lodge, Ripley Entertainment operates Guinness World Records Museums, Ripley’s Haunted Adventures, Ripley’s Moving Theaters, Louis Tussaud’s Wax Museums, three interactive mini-golf courses, and the newest member of the attraction’s mix, Enchanted Mirror Mazes.
The company’s shining new star in 2007 was its triumphant return to New York City with the opening of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square in July. Meanwhile the company’s newest venture, The Enchanted Mirror Maze made its debut in Grand Prairie, Texas and based on that success, three more mazes will be built in 2008. In addition, increased marketing of the “haunted” side of the company surrounding Halloween events set the stage for even further growth in that segment during 2008.
Currently with more than 60 attractions in 11 countries worldwide, Ripley Entertainment has major expansion plans in place for 2008. The entertainment company is set to open Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditoriums in Bangalore, India, Vera Cruz, Mexico, and London, England, during the year. Bangalore will also be home to a Louis Tussaud’s Wax Museum, a Guinness World Records Museum, and an Enchanted Mirror Maze, all licensed from Ripley Entertainment.
During 2007, the company continued to be a big supporter of its trade association, The International Assoc. of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA). In November, Ripley hosted the group’s gala during the annual trade show and convention held in Orlando. At that gala, Masterson began his one year term as chairman of IAAPA, the world’s largest amusement industry trade group.
The Publishing Side of Ripley
Ripley Publishing released two major hardcover books in 2007. “Ripley’s Believe It or Not! The Remarkable Revealed, ” reached the top five on the New York Times Bestseller List in fall 2007 and the innovative “Ripley’s Search for the Shrunken Head, ” an interactive tale based on Ripley’s own writings, was released in time for the fall and holiday selling season. A soft cover specialty book, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Amusement Park Oddities & Trivia was released in August. Together, they sold more than a million copies.
Meanwhile, the myriad best sellers of recent years continue to sell at an incredible pace. Norm Deska, executive vice president, intellectual property notes that the demand for foreign rights to all Ripley’s books has reached an all time high. “With each new book project expanding our market, worldwide interest increases, ” Deska said.
The vibrant and quirky Ripley Entertainment, now 89 years old, is one of the most recognizable entertainment brands in the world, said Pattison who adds that with the planned expansion in 2008 and beyond, the company “will continue to grow in popularity worldwide in many years to come.”
About Ripley Entertainment
Ripley Entertainment Inc. (www.ripleys.com), owners of the venerable Ripley’s Believe It or Not! brand, is a global leader in location-based entertainment. More than 13 million guests visit its 60-plus attractions operating in 11 countries annually. The Orlando-based company also has divisions that oversee publishing, licensing and broadcast operations. Ripley Entertainment is a Jim Pattison Company, the third-largest privately held company in Canada.
For additional information on Ripley Entertainment please visit www.ripleys.com/corporate.php.