Willy Wonka Immersive Event Leaves Kids in Tears: “It Looks Like a Meth Lab” – Hollywood Reporter

Subscribe for full access to The Hollywood Reporter
Subscribe for full access to The Hollywood Reporter
What was billed as an immersive experience seemingly inspired by Willy Wonka movies turned into the Fyre Fest of unofficial movie tie-ins.
By James Hibberd
An “immersive experience” that promised to transport Willy Wonka fans into a “magical realm” has turned out to be such an epic letdown that customers called the police and compared the attraction to a meth lab.
The U.K. event was titled Willy’s Chocolate Experience and charged customers $44 each (photos below). The attraction was not affiliated with the Warner Bros. movie Wonka, though the event’s marketing came as close as possible to suggesting it was based on author Roald Dahl’s creation. The ad copy invited fans to journey to “a universe where confectionary dreams are brought to life” that included “mind-expanding projections, optical marvels and exhibits that transport you into the realm of creativity” and “wondrous creations and enchanting surprises at every turn!”

Related Stories

The event organizers apparently used artificial intelligence to generate promotional images that suggested a very high-quality attraction, which looked just like the immersive and trippy Wonka-esque world that the ad copy promised. But the result was somewhat different, and ticket buyers needed pure imagination to think it looked anything like a fantastical chocolate factory.
As reported by The Guardian, customers showed up in Glasgow to find “a sparsely decorated warehouse with a scattering of plastic props, a small bouncy castle and some backdrops pinned against the walls.” Scotland police were even called to the scene, the event shut down and parents said their children were in tears. All the event lacked was a man in top hat telling customers: “You get nothing! You lose! Good day, sir!”
Photos from the event went viral online comparing what was promised to what was delivered:
apparently this was sold as a live Willy Wonka Experience but they used all AI images on the website to sell tickets and then people showed up and saw this and it got so bad people called the cops lmao pic.twitter.com/tfkyg0G0WG
Police were called to a "Willy Wonka Experience" in the UK after hundreds of families were left scammed

– $40 tickets for entry
– AI images advertised the event
– Venue was an empty warehouse
– Staff given scripts the night before

The photos are almost too good to be true pic.twitter.com/PXklBmnQH6
The Oompa Loompa from the knock off Wonka land experience looks like she’s running a literal meth lab and is seriously questioning the life choices up until this point. If you scripted this, I would say it was too on the nose pic.twitter.com/WwkGO8Hjck
Police were called to an 'immersive event' inspired by Willy Wonka in Glasgow after furious parents complained about the quality of the event. https://t.co/8BIz7jOESm pic.twitter.com/hqpgeNB9uk
Actually in awe of how grim this is. Fucking outstanding https://t.co/Tz5AdEy3Mk pic.twitter.com/8sAeyfrDeG
Of course, one could argue that a Willy Wonka-inspired event that ended with angry parents and crying children is more authentic to Dahl’s novel than any of the recent Wonka movies.
The Guardian added that event organizers refunded tickets and apologized for the “very stressful and frustrating day,” telling customers, “Unfortunately, last minute we were let down in many areas of our event and tried our best to continue on and push through and now realise we probably should have cancelled first thing this morning instead.”

And so shines a good apology in a weary world.
UPDATE: Actor playing Willy Wonka at the event speaks out: “The script was 15 pages of AI-generated gibberish”
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day
Get the scoops first! Breaking news and interviews on comics, sci-fi, horror and more
Subscribe for full access to The Hollywood Reporter
Send us a tip using our anonymous form.


Leave a Comment