2010 Best Theme Park Attraction nominee: Universal Studios Hollywood's Waterworld
Written by Robert Niles
Can a lousy movie inspire a great theme park attraction?Tweet
It seemed like a sure-fire hit at the time. Academy Award winner Kevin Coster, fresh from a string of hits including Dances with Wolves and JFK, would star in an action thriller set in the future, after global warming had melted the Earth's ice caps, submerging the world's land. Rather than waiting to see if the movie would be a hit, Universal Studios Hollywood would debut a stunt show based on the film that same fall (in 1995), to take advantage of what would surely be the movie's immense popularity.
Thank goodness that Universal didn't wait, for if it had, we likely wouldn't have what's turned out to become one of the most popular theme park shows ever produced. Waterworld, the movie, turned out to be a dud, earning less than half its production cost in its initial release. But Waterworld, the theme park show, continues to thrill audiences with its 16 minutes of JetSki stunts, fistfights and explosions, including an audacious finale where a full-sized plane crashes into the water, just a few feet in front of the audience.
The show takes place after the events of the film. Helen returns from Dryland to save her friends, when the evil Smokers attack. But the Mariner soon returns to save the day. Here's a YouTube clip from the show:
Waterworld also plays at Universal Studios Japan and also will run in Singapore when that park debuts later this year. (And yet, there's no Waterworld show at Universal Orlando, Universal's most popular theme park resort.)
What do you think about Universal Studios Hollywood's Waterworld? Waterworld pulled one upset, by outshining the film upon which it was based. Can it advance in this year's tournament? We'll find out when voting begins in March.
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