Disney counters boy wizards with blue aliens
by, 09-20-2011 at 10:34 AM (5517 Views)
Disney CEO Bob Iger just wrapped up a press conference at the Walt Disney Imagineering offices in Glendale, where it was announced that Disney Parks and Resorts has signed an exclusive licensing deal to open entire lands based on James Cameron's Avatar film. [Official press release below] The first such land will be build in Orlando, at Disney's Animal Kingdom park.
Construction on the Avatar project is scheduled to begin in 2013, with completion sometime in 2016. The second and third Avatar films are slated to be released in 2014 and 2015, giving Imagineers even more to work with as they bring the fictional realm of Pandora to life.
Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Tom Staggs said that the avatar-themed lands will have multiple rides, along with entertainment, shops and food and beverage locations. No budget was revealed, but the cost was compared to the new 12-acre Cars Land, now under construction at Disney California Adventure.
Preliminary design work has just begun on the project, and basically no details were available - size; number and type of attractions; additional locations.
Disney's deal is surely a response to the success of Universal's Harry Potter land. Disney has had single-attraction licenses before, with Star Tours and the Tower of Terror, but the Avatar project will mark the first time Disney has built an entire land based on a licensed property. It makes you wonder what Star Wars land would have looked like, had Disney pursued that license.
Disney will likely milk the Avatar buzz for all they can over the next half decade, so let the speculation and "armchair Imagineeering" begin. What was your first reaction to the news, and are you looking forward to Avatar-land? What rides and shows would you like to see based on this property? Does Avatar have the same draw and longevity as the Harry Potter franchise?
DISNEY, FOX AND JAMES CAMERON TO BRING AVATAR TO LIFE AT DISNEY PARKS
Long-term agreement will bring AVATAR themed lands to Disney parks, with the first at Walt Disney World in Orlando
BURBANK (September 20, 2011) - Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide is joining forces with visionary filmmaker James Cameron and Fox Filmed Entertainment to bring the world of AVATAR to life at Disney parks. Through an exclusive agreement announced today by Disney, Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment and Fox, Disney will partner with Cameron and producing partner Jon Landau to create themed lands that will give theme park guests the opportunity to explore the mysterious universe of AVATAR first hand. Disney plans to build the first AVATAR themed land at Walt Disney World, within the Animal Kingdom park. With its emphasis on living in harmony with nature, Animal Kingdom is a natural fit for the AVATAR stories, which share the same philosophy. Construction is expected to begin by 2013.
“James Cameron is a groundbreaking filmmaker and gifted storyteller who shares our passion for creativity, technological innovation and delivering the best experience possible,” said Robert A. Iger, President and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. “With this agreement, we have the extraordinary opportunity to combine James’ talent and vision with the imagination and expertise of Disney.”
“AVATAR created a world which audiences can discover again and again and now, through this incredible partnership with Disney, we'll be able to bring Pandora to life like never before. With two new AVATAR films currently in development, we'll have even more locations, characters and stories to explore,” said James Cameron. “I'm chomping at the bit to start work with Disney's legendary Imagineers to bring our AVATAR universe to life. Our goal is to go beyond current boundaries of technical innovation and experiential storytelling, and give park goers the chance to see, hear, and touch the world of AVATAR with an unprecedented sense of reality.”
The agreement announced today gives The Walt Disney Company exclusive global theme park rights to the AVATAR franchise and provides for additional AVATAR themed lands at other Disney parks. The other locations will be determined by Disney and its international theme park partners. James Cameron, Jon Landau and their Lightstorm Entertainment group will serve as creative consultants on the projects and will partner with Walt Disney Imagineering in the design and development of the AVATAR themed lands.
“This exciting new venture combines the world of AVATAR with the enormous reach of Disney and the incomparable talent of Jim Cameron,” commented Fox Filmed Entertainment chairmen Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman. “While Jim is bringing audiences further into Pandora with the next two chapters in the AVATAR motion picture saga, the theme park attraction will likewise bring a new dimension to the amazing universe he created.”
“AVATAR is a uniquely powerful franchise that has global appeal with audiences of all ages. Its spectacular settings, intriguing characters, imaginative creatures, and strong themes of family and loyalty make it a perfect fit for Disney,” said Thomas O. Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “We can’t wait to give our guests the ability to journey to Pandora and explore the incredible immersive world of AVATAR in person.”
In addition to setting a global box office record, AVATAR has been hailed as one of the most innovative and visually stunning movies ever produced. With its advanced motion capture and 3-D digital projection technologies developed by James Cameron and his team, moviegoers were able to connect with the world of AVATAR in new and engaging ways.
This new venture complements Walt Disney Parks & Resorts’ strategic efforts to continue to invest in its core theme park businesses around the world while simultaneously expanding into other parts of the family vacation business.