Dark Harbor at the Queen Mary will return this fall, an event that has a cult following and drew hundreds of thousands of attendees during the Halloween season in its previous run from 2010 to 2019.

Officials from Evolution Hospitality, which operates the ship, and Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group, which will produce the event, made the announcement Tuesday night in the Britannia room aboard the ship amid an assortment of familiar ghoulish characters from Dark Harbor, including the “Ringmaster.”

Dark Harbor will open Sept. 20 and run through Nov. 2, said Brett Bertolino, director of special events for Thirteenth Floor. Tickets will go on sale in late summer.

The event is also hiring scare actors, event staff, tech staff and more. Job postings and applications can be found on the event website.

A Dark Harbor creature walks around during an announcement about the event making a return to the Queen Mary in Long Beach, Tuesday, April 30, 2024. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Bertolino promised the event would “honor the heritage, the story and the legacy” of the original event, including some familiar attractions as well as new characters.

The popular event included mazes, street performances, a virtual reality horror experience, circus performance and more. Some of the attractions were based on legendary ghost stories about the ship, including room B340, which inspired its own maze.

The previous organizers of Dark Harbor, Epic Entertainment Productions, canceled the popular event in 2020 due to the pandemic, and again in 2021 for unspecified reasons — though at the time, the ship was still closed following the bankruptcy of its former operator, Urban Commons.

Thirteenth Floor was involved in the launch of Shaqtoberfest, a new Halloween event inspired by basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, in 2022. The event was held again last fall in collaboration with ABG Entertainment.

A crowd watches a video about the return of Dark Harbor to the Queen Mary in Long Beach, Tuesday, April 30, 2024. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Thirteenth Floor produces a number of Halloween-themed events, including the Haunted Hayride at Griffith Park and dozens of haunted attractions in Chicago, Phoenix, Houston and Austin, Texas, among other locations.

Earlier this month, city officials authorized a profit-sharing agreement with Thirteenth Floor for events through November 2028. It wasn’t immediately clear if other events are planned.

Under the agreement, Thirteenth Floor would have non-exclusive use of the ship to host events, with the city receiving a third of net revenue under roughly $3 million, 38% of the next $1.6 million in net revenue and 43% of net revenue over roughly $4.6 million.

The Queen Mary commodor, Everette Hoard, looks on during an announcement about return of Dark Harbor to the Queen Mary in Long Beach, Tuesday, April 30, 2024. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Officials predicted that its annual share of revenue from the agreement could be as much as $1 million the first year and up to $3 million by 2028, depending on the number of events and attendance. The city also receives tax revenue on food, beverage, hotel and retail revenue generated at the ship.

The city took over operation of the Queen Mary in the summer of 2021 following the bankruptcy of leaseholder Urban Commons and began investing millions into needed repairs.

The historic vessel didn’t fully reopen to the public until last year — three years after the onset of the pandemic in spring 2020.

Since then, the city has ramped up entertainment on and around the ship, including announcing a series of summer events planned in the coming months.

After at least 17 years of operational deficits, the Queen Mary turned a profit at the end of 2023, according to Evolution Hospitality.

Melissa Evans is the Chief Executive Officer of the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal. Reach her at [email protected], @melissaevansLBP or 562-512-6354.