U.S. comics icon opens Marvel Experience in Bangkok

Bad guys beware: Captain America has come to fight for Thailand. And he brought The Hulk, Spiderman, Black Panther and Wolverine with him to the delight of the legions of Thai fans of Marvel superheroes.

Thailand’s avid fan base convinced the iconic United States comic books company Marvel to open a Marvel Experience themed entertainment attraction in Bangkok last week, the first foray by Marvel into Southeast Asia, and one that makes use of virtual reality and other cutting-edge entertainment technologies.

“The Marvel Experience was a smash hit in the U.S. We received interesting proposals from many countries, but we chose Thailand because Marvel has a major fan base here,” said Rick Licht, the chief executive officer of Hero Ventures.

Los Angeles-based Hero Ventures teamed up with Marvel to develop the Marvel Experience mobile interactive attraction that is so popular in America. Together, the companies have invested over $30 million to build the new entertainment complex located at the Mega Bangna shopping mall on the outskirts of the city.

“We want The Marvel Experience to be a new tourist destination and an iconic landmark among Thais and foreign tourists. This is a place where families and people of all ages can find enjoyment,” said Surakiat Thienthong, the co-chief executive officer of Hero Experience, the Thailand-based subsidiary of Hero Ventures.

The complex covers over 215,000 square feet and makes use of technologies, imported from Belgium, Australia, England, Turkey and the U.S. Local software designers participated in developing controls for the 4D Motion Ride, original 3D animated features, and the 360-degree 4D stereoscopic projection.

In the first entertainment pavilion, visitors are introduced to the Marvel superheroes, and a unique storyline has been developed to appeal to local tastes and sensibilities.

“The story is about Marvel’s superhero characters who are fighting the villains out to destroy Southeast Asia, starting with Thailand. Director Nick Fury decided to set up the SHIELD base in Bangkok and invite Bangkokians to join a mission to save their hometown,” Surakiart said.

And Bangkokians of all ages, not just kids, were flocking to the complex on the opening weekend. Office workers in their 20s through 40s were lined up for the 3D and 4D virtual and simulated reality presentations. Also, the shops selling licensed Marvel merchandise was doing brisk business.