Cirque du Soleil has announced today that they have acquired Blue Man Productions, the company behind the popular percussive performers Blue Man Group. The purchase occurred to help both companies serve their mutual goal of expansion.
Cirque du Soleil and Blue Man Group both currently have existing shows in the Orlando theme park area: Cirque’s Disney Springs show, La Nouba, will have its final performance on December 31st, 2017; and Universal CityWalk hosts a live Blue Man Group show. Exactly how this acquisition could affect the companies’ Orlando presence is unknown, but for the time being, it appears Cirque is more concerned with expansion than with merging their properties.
Daniel Lamarre, Cirque’s chief executive, stated, “The Blue Man Group will keep its autonomy. We’re not going to mix the Cirque du Soleil brand with the brand of the Blue Man Group.”
Blue Man Group’s brand of percussion, lighting, dancing, and nonverbal comedy has already stretched its reach to five permanent shows in the United States (Orlando, Chicago, New York, Boston, and Las Vegas), one international show in Berlin, and one world tour. Their performances are said to take in hundreds of millions of dollars per year. They have been operating for almost 30 years at this point, first performing in 1988 (officially forming in 1991), and have performed in front of over 35 million viewers.
Cirque du Soleil was created in 1984 by former fire-eater Guy Laliberte and initially cultivated street performers in Quebec. Since then, Cirque has gone from 20 performers to 1,300, employs 4,000 people, and operates in approximately 50 nations. Annually, Cirque’s performances draw 13 million people and bring in $1 billion in revenue.
Cirque strategy looks to be expanding Blue Man internationally. “We saw the potential for a marketing and distributing powerhouse like Cirque du Soleil to be able to distribute Blue Man Group and make their brand better known internationally,” Lamarre said.
The obvious choice for expansion appears to be China, with its growing entertainment market; Cirque’s and Blue Man’s nonverbal forms of entertainment would limit the language barrier present in translating other forms of entertainment. Lamarre is traveling to China next week to announce a seven-city Cirque du Soleil tour in October.
Marc Routh, president of Broadway Asia (a tour producer and distributor in Asia), thinks Blue Man Group is a perfect fit for Chinese audiences. “I think that to unlock the larger audience in China, it needs to be either in Chinese or nonverbal,” Routh said, “Blue Man Group is certainly one of the greatest entries into that nonverbal market.”
Broadening their reach was something Blue Man was looking to accomplish with this deal. Chris Wink, the founder of Blue Man Group (with Phil Stanton and Matt Goldman), explained the decision. “We started to feel like we needed some help, plus we had some creative ideas that were beyond our own means,” he said, “We thought of some ways that the Blue Men and their performances could go on a bigger scale.”
Source: The New York Times