It was announced yesterday, on July 6th, Cirque du Soleil has acquired Blue Man Productions. The New York based company currently operates resident shows in New York, Boston, Las Vegas, Chicago, Berlin, and right here in Orlando at the Universal Orlando Resort. It also has two touring productions.
According to the press release on the Cirque du Soleil website, “We want to broaden our horizons, develop new forms of entertainment, reach out to new audiences and expand our own creative capabilities. Today, we are taking a decisive step towards materializing these ambitions”, said Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO of Cirque du Soleil. “We are extremely excited to welcome the iconic Blue Man Group to our portfolio of shows. Their unbridled creativity makes them a perfect cultural fit for Cirque du Soleil. Our extensive marketing research also confirms that Blue Man Group is a strong ‘love brand’ with a solid fan base – something else our two brands have in common.”
The acquisition, which came as quite a surprise to the entertainment industry, was announced with an undisclosed price tag, but is said to have cost tens of millions.
“It’s part of the new strategy for Cirque du Soleil to diversify our content,” Cirque du Soleil CEO Daniel Lamarre told Variety. “Like Cirque, Blue Man Group has developed their own creativity, their own niche and their own brand, but we thought that the Blue Man Group brand was underdeveloped. With our marketing machine and our network of promoters around the world, we can really, really expand their brand.”
So what does this mean for the two companies as a whole? Could we see a Blue Man Cirque show in the future? The answer is quite simply, no. “It’s not about blurring the brands,” said Blue Man Group co-creator Chris Wink, who with co-founder Phil Stanton will remain creative directors of Blue Man Group. “We think [Cirque du Soleil] can help get our show to new parts of the world that we couldn’t get to on our own … China, South America, eastern Europe,” he said.
According to Lamarre, China will be a major focus of expansion for both companies as they move forward together. Projects are expected to be revealed for that location soon.
As for the respective shows here in Orlando, nothing has been announced to be changing. The Blue Man Group show, which opened at Universal Orlando City Walk in June 2007, will remain separate from any Cirque inclusion and La Nouba, located at Disney Springs, is set to close December 31, 2017.
“Blue Man Group has been an important part of the Universal Orlando experience for many years, and we’re looking forward to continuing that partnership moving forward,” said Alyson Lundell, a Universal Orlando spokeswoman.
Cirque debuted its La Nouba show at Downtown Disney in late 1998. The 19 year old show will be shuttering permanently at the end of the year. La Nouba features acrobatics, actors, gymnasts, musicians and other performers in a freestanding, tent-inspired theater.
Disney and Cirque have yet to announce a replacement for La Nouba, if there will be one. “All I can say for now is that I’m very optimistic that we will be able to do an announcement in the coming few weeks, I hope, for what will be the replacement,” Lamarre said Thursday. There haven’t been many rumors or much talk as to what could replace La Nouba. Although, there are rumblings of a show which could incorporate Disney characters into the acts which would be a first for Cirque.