With the new movie starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones hitting theaters next week, this is the opportune time to head over to Madame Tussauds New York and check out the new Ghostbusters-themed exhibit that opened last week. As the first cross-promotion of its kind, the wax museum is currently featuring two attractions. The first, called The Ghostbusters Experience, takes attendees through different sets inspired by the new movie and features holographic ghosts and wax statues of the characters. Those who want to take their experience to the next level can check out the Ghostbusters: Dimension hyper-reality experience, developed by The Void, where attendees can put on headsets and proton packs to bust ghosts in virtual reality. Both attractions are built in partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment to ensure authenticity.
Eric Fluet, head of marketing and sales at Madame Tussauds New York, talks to [a]listdaily about this incredible partnership with Sony Pictures and The Void to create a location-based attraction that also promotes the upcoming movie. The new Ghostbusters movie releases on July 15, but fans can get an early, immersive, preview by visiting Madame Tussauds New York now.
How did the Ghostbusters Experience come to Madame Tussauds?
We had been working with Sony Pictures and the Ghost Corps to create the all-new Ghostbusters Experience. And the Sony execs said, “Hey, we’re working with this company on a virtual reality project. Why don’t you talk to this company called The Void?” So we sat down with The Void, and they started talking us through their concept. We thought it was amazing technology that ties very well back to the Ghostbusters project we were already working on. It has created this perfect environment where you have three really strong parties coming together at Madame Tussauds, which has been operating attractions for over 200 years with a prime location in the heart of Times Square.
Sony Pictures and Ghost Corps, with this iconic brand—Ghostbusters—has been an American pop culture staple for 30 years. And The Void, with this brand new technology, to bring it to life. When guests come to Madame Tussauds this summer, they’re going to get to walk into the movie. [After] You see the movie (or getting ready for the movie), you come to Madame Tussauds, and you’ll actually step into multiple sets from the movie in the Ghostbusters Experience, which is included in your admission. Then you can upgrade to the Ghostbusters: Dimension hyper-reality experience and actually be a Ghostbuster.
How meaningful is it that Madame Tussauds is offering this experience at the launch of the new Ghostbusters movie?
We’re thrilled to be doing it. For us, Madame Tussauds is a brand we’re trying to evolve and become more immersive. Virtual reality is going to be hot this summer—we’re seeing it pop up all over the place. Hyper-reality is the next evolution of virtual reality and is taking it that step further. To be able to offer the world’s first look at it is an incredible opportunity and we’re thrilled to be part of the project, and we’re thrilled to offer it to our guests at our Times Square location.
Will there be any cross-promotion between Sony Pictures and Madame Tussauds to get the word out about the experience?
Sure, there are all sorts of things going on. As a matter of fact, it started back in May, when we announced our partnership with Sony and The Void. We’ve been working in lockstep from a PR perspective. We’ve been synced up with the announcement, the hard hat tour, and the full press event. We have Sony execs here who are participating in it, we’ve got Sony’s publicity team, Madame Tussauds’ publicity team, and The Void’s owners and founders here—all available so we can show our products and share our message together.
As we move forward, working together with our marketing pieces to make sure we’re promoting this event in its totality, we’ve got other things in the works. Whether it’s bringing our figures out to other locations, where the actors may be, for stunts the Sony PR team is looking to do; or TV commercials that we’re putting together where we work with Sony to get some footage from the movie to include in it. I could go on for days about all the different things we’re doing together, but it’s really important—with the popularity of the new Ghostbusters movie this summer, what’s going to be the popularity of the Ghostbusters Experience at Madame Tussauds, and the world’s first hyper-reality experience—that all of those things dovetail together.
The Ghostbusters brand goes back 30 years, but the Ghostbusters Experience only features the new movie. Has there been any thought given to including the classic movies?
We had a lot of thought and dialogue about it when we first started this project. It was really important to be aligned with Sony in bringing this new movie to life. This is what’s going to be top-of-mind this summer. The Sony team is really pushing the new Ghostbusters, and we wanted to make sure we were supporting that as best we could. Rather than trying to mix the two together, I think it was best to stick with the one. The new 2016 film is the right way to go for us to make sure we could bring it to life in the truest, most authentic way possible.
How has it been to partner with The Void for a location-based VR experience?
I think one of the beauties of partnering with The Void is that Madame Tussauds brings operation—high volume, consumer-facing operation. The Void is a company that’s great at technology, but hasn’t done any consumer-facing mass market type of operation. By partnering, we can help each other through that. They can learn the operation from us. As a matter of fact, Madame Tussauds is operating it [Ghostbusters: Dimension] here at the attraction, so it’s a great thing for us to work together as this comes to market for the first time.
What were some of your first thoughts when you tried out Ghostbusters: Dimension?
I’ve been involved with the project for months, and I’ve been out to The Void’s studio in Salt Lake City, and I did some of their other versions from the TED conference and some of the stuff they had on the floor. The technology The Void brings is cool—it’s hyper-reality—but when I did the Ghostbusters: Dimension, it really blew my mind. I was familiar with the story, script, stage and flow, but actually being in it… it’s hard to articulate how amazing it was. I can’t wait for not only gamers and VR enthusiasts to come check this out, because this is going to blow their minds, but then you have the mass market. It’s a great opportunity to bring to live, general market consumers—who may not have been involved or interested in virtual reality—a chance to do this. It’s going to blow people’s minds. It’s amazing.