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  2017

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CIRQUE RE-BRANDS FOR THE FUTURE

In recent years Cirque du Soleil has been slowly transforming from an avant-garde circus troupe to a company looking to expand into other forms of entertainment. “Our primary goal is diversification,” said Daniel Lamarre. “We want to broaden our horizons, develop new forms of entertainment, reach out to new audiences and expand our own creative capabilities.”

On Thursday, 6 July 2017, Cirque would take the biggest step yet toward this goal with the acquisition of New-York-based Blue Man Productions, a global live entertainment company best known for the award-winning Blue Man Group show. The acquisition adds six resident productions in the United States and Germany, as well as a North American and a World Tour to Cirque's portfolio. According to Reuters, the Cirque paid US$65.5 million to acquire the Blue Men. Although Blue Man was quite profitable, it was willing to give up its autonomy in favor of more capabilities and resources that it could use to target other markets. China specifically came to mind; they had even spoken to representatives of Fosun about expanding there. It was Fosun who suggested Cirque du Soleil and when the parties met in Montreal they hit it off immediately.

With this ever-evolving self-reinvention, Cirque du Soleil decided they needed a new identity - and a new name - one that would embrace and respect their heritage while at the same time evolve with the company's new mission. A raison d'être that now included multimedia productions, immersive experiences, theme parks, and special events. On Tuesday, 21 November 2017, in a video posted across its social media footprint, Cirque du Soleil would make that re-branding announcement. By creating a new umbrella company to encapsulate "The New Cirque", Cirque would, in their own words, take the company into the future of entertainment. Thus two new distinct logos were released as part of this announcement: a modified sunburst for the CIRQUE DU SOLEIL ENTERTAINMENT GROUP (the new umbrella company), and a roundel featuring the Cirque Sun-face motif in its center, labeled CIRQUE DU SOLEIL (the circus arts brand).

These icons will join the other subsidiaries of the new Cirque du Soleil, like 45 DEGREES (so named after Montreal's latitude), BLUE MAN GROUP, 4U2C (a multimedia creation and scenographic design company), EGB (one of the largest privately held travel and entertainment providers in the United States), OUTBOX (a ticket platform), and other endeavors such as VR (with Felix & Paul Studios), ON DEMAND, Cirque du Soleil Média, and more. It would be a busy year for Cirque...

SHOWS AND SPECIAL EVENTS

Via the 45 DEGREES brand, the special events side of Cirque du Soleil was very prolific this year: In addition to designing and producing the Fondation du Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal's prestigious annual fund-raising event, the Bal du MAC, the Special Events team help Avenged Sevenfold (an American Heavy metal band) and Helene Fischer (one of the most successful artists in Europe) take their newest tours to the next level; Launched REFLEKT at Expo Astana during the summer, a special event inspired by the history of the Kazakh nomadic culture that explored the idea of renewable human energy as we journey towards a sustainable future; Expanded Club Med CREACTIVE to include a second campus in the 120-acre Opio en Provence resort in the South of France; Presented STELLAR, the final chapter in the SCALADA story, over in Andorra; Rocked the Amphithéâtre Cogeco in Trois-Rivières (a city located halfway between Montréal and Quebec City) with STONE, the third show in the Hommage Series paying tribute to Luc Plamondon; Launched the NFL EXPERIENCE TIMES SQUARE, a first-of- its-kind interactive attraction in the heart of New York City; and held the debut for VIAGGIO and SONOR, the first two CIRQUE AT SEA productions for the MSC Cruises partnership on board the MSC Meraviglia.

The main Cirque du Soleil brand was just as busy.

Three shows closed: PARAMOUR, Cirque's musical experiment on Broadway, closed its doors on April 16, 2017 after performing for only one year; VAREKAI, after 15 years of touring around the globe in over 200 cities and 43 countries, took its final bow on December 23, 2017; and after 19 years and almost 9,000 performances, LA NOUBA held its final performance on December 31, 2017 in Orlando, Florida. Three shows opened: SEP7IMO DIA: NO DESCANSARÉ - a musical revue show based on the legendary Argentine rock group Soda Stereo invades areanas in Latin America (opened March 9th); VOLTA - the "next generation" of Cirque du Soleil under the big top, based on the spirit of adventure that pervades the world of action sports (opened April 20th); and CRYSTAL - a breakthrough ice experience, becomes Cirque's very first ice show, only in arenas (opened October 5th). And a number of shows hit important milestones: The Beatles LOVE celebrated its 5,000th performance (on January 11th), Mystère celebrated its 11,000th perofrmance (on February 21st), ZUMANITY celebrated its 6,500th performance (on May 23rd), LUZIA celebrated its 500th performance (on August 12th), MJ ONE celebrated its 2,000th performance (on August 14th), "O" celebrated its 9,000th performance (August 17th), and KA celebrated its 6,000th performance (August 23rd).

IMAGES & MEDIA

Cirque du Soleil Média's first project brings Saban Brands (Power Rangers, Julius Jr., Popples) into the mix by creating LUNA PETUNIA, an animated production geared toward young kids. Netflix acquired the series the first episodes begin airing on Friday, December 9, 2016. A five episode second series began airing on July 7, 2017, a six episode third series began airing on November 17th. A fourth season was ordered to air in early 2018. Discovery Kids announced a strategic partnership with Cirque du Soleil Images on an original English-language live action series yet to be named. In addition, Cirque du Soleil released the SEP7IMO DIA: NO DESCANSARÉ soundtrack to CD as well as #SodaCirque, a documentary about the spark and creation of the show. CDS Images also released a filming of KURIOS - CABINET OF KURIOSITIES to DVD.

OTHER ENDEAVOURS AND NEWS

Cirque du Soleil expands its VR offerings with the launch of "DREAMS OF 'O'" and "Through the Masks of LUZIA"; brings its flagship conference - C2 International - to Melbourne Australia, sparking new ideas by combining talks, workshops, experimental brainstorming sessions, meet-ups, performances, braindates, labs and festivities; Enters a multi-year partnership with the Las Vegas Golden Knights hockey club, granting Cirque advertisement visibility during games and a venue in which to showcase the company's talents; And sets One Night for One Drop 5 off without a hitch a the Zumanity Theater.

After 10 years and over 4000 performances, Cirque and Criss Angel Productions announce its collaboration will culminate with the final performance of MINDFREAK LIVE! at Luxor Las Vegas on October 28, 2018. A new show - based on extreme stunts - is rumored to take its place. This wasn't the only big news about Criss this year though. On 10 March 2017, Criss Angel lost consciousnes during an evening's performance while attempting his famed upside down straightjacket escape (while suspended by his feet). He was lowered to the stage and rushed to the hospital where he was evaluated and released. Show's continued a couple of days later. Additionally, Dubai Holdings announced Marsa Al Arab during the year, a new mega-project spread over a 4 million sq ft area comprising two islands on both sides of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. Adding 2.2 km of beach frontage, the comprehensive tourist destination aims to elevate family tourism in Dubai. The project will include a dedicated theater with a capacity of 1,700 seats for Cirque du Soleil.

# # #

The international success story known as Cirque du Soleil is, above all, the story of a remarkable bond between performers and spectators the world over. For at the end of the day, it is the spectators who spark the creative passions of Cirque du Soleil. So long as we keep our sense of excitement at discovering new paths, we’ll never lose our determination to share that excitement with every audience, at every performance. Today, we have our place in the sun and a roof over our heads, but once upon a time the street was our home. I would say we took a little dusty carpet and shook it out pretty well we’ve shown the world that under the dust, something exceptional is coming out of contemporary circus. My mission has not yet been accomplished. I still have a lot of entertaining to do. As the future approaches, Cirque prepares to embark on new projects and connect with new audiences everywhere. Dreams never die. Come along as they take on new forms! (Guy Laliberte)


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