October 4, 2000
Oklahoma City, OK -- Six Flags today announced the rollout of "Fright Fest," its trademark month-long Halloween event. The gigantic event offers a range of attractions from highly produced,terrifying haunted experiences to tamer trick-or-treat activities created for the little ones. Within the industry, Six Flags pioneered the concept of park-wide Halloween themed events as a way to drive incremental attendance and revenue by extending the season well beyond the summer.
"For nearly 70 years, theme parks closed their gates on Labor Day," said Six Flags Chairman Kieran Burke. "Today, we use special events and attractions at our parks to attract visitors and extend our season. Using Halloween as a backdrop to produce imaginative special events and attractions, Six Flags has been able to attract guests of all ages, driving both ticket and in-park spending."
October attendance at Six Flags parks has increased 57% since 1995. In 1999, Six Flags benefited from the introduction of an all-new powerhouse teen-oriented haunted experience called "Brutal Planet," as well as new Halloween-themed live action shows and an enhanced family entertainment product.
"In 2000, with our one-of-a-kind haunted experience Brutal Planet and exporting our Fright Fest concept to our international properties, we are looking forward to another strong Halloween season," Burke said. History of October "Halloween" Season Six Flags played a pioneering role in the industry's development of a Halloween season. In the early 1970's, Six Flags and a small number of amusement parks experimented with extending the season by hosting small fall weekend festivals. Later, fall festivals led to special Halloween-oriented events, including the introduction of haunted experiences.
In 1989, the Six Flags Over Texas park attracted national attention with its expanded and enhanced Halloween event. Attendance and revenue soared, prompting theme park operators to apply considerable creative and financial resources against Halloween.
LENGTH OF SEASON
For regional theme parks, such as Six Flags, incremental operating days per season translate to incremental revenues and earnings. "Halloween's emergence into a national seasonal event has enabled us to extend the season and extend operating hours at a number of our U.S.-branded parks," Burke said. "At our northeast and Midwest parks, where Fright Fest was introduced only in the past two years, we've seen strong response to the product, particularly from our important season pass base. This is also the time of year when teens bring a lot of friends with them to the Park, which pushes up ticket revenue."
In addition to seasonal expansion, this fall, for the first time, the Company will extend "Fright Fest" to five of its international properties.
"We are confident a well-produced Halloween product similar to the one we have in the United States will be well received in Europe and Mexico. However, we are exhibiting great care to be sure all elements of our Halloween experiences are properly translated," Burke commented. Six Flags took its brand global in 2000 to tremendous market reaction, with the introduction of Six Flags Holland near Amsterdam and Six Flags Mexico in Mexico City.
NEW ATTRACTION FOR TEENAGERS AND YOUNG ADULTS: Brutal Planet
"We've diversified our overall entertainment product and expanded our offerings for all ages," said Burke, "but we are particularly excited about the ability of Brutal Planet to attract teen-agers and young adults."
Brutal Planet is a new mega-suspense haunted attraction featuring powerful Hollywood special effects mastery and artistry.
"Brutal Planet, as well as new offerings for parents and their kids, re-energized our Fright Fest product last year and built positive anticipation for this season," said Burke. Operating Hours Six Flags' Fright Fest begins in October and runs into November. Parks are open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Hours of operation vary by park.