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Are theme park fans ready for 'The Marvel Experience' in 2014?

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Published: August 22, 2013 at 5:59 PM

The same producers who gave us Broadway’s “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” have announced that they will be delivering a $30 million traveling theme-park-style attraction featuring Marvel Comics’ roster of superheroes and villains to two dozen U.S. cities in 2014. The Marvel Experience will be staged in a mobile dome complex the size of two football fields that will appear in each city for one week.

The Marvel Experience

The massive attraction promises original 3D animated features, motion-comic origin stories and holographic simulations, but the centerpiece of the experience is a new 4D motion ride that promises to be a first-person thrill ride that will “enable anyone to feel like a superhero like Spider-Man or Captain America,” according to Hero Ventures CEO, Rick Licht.

There are some big names lending their producing experience and financial assistance to this project. Live Nation chairman and “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” producer, Michael Cohl, will be heading up the project while folks like Roy P. Disney, New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch and a who’s who of financial bigwigs are providing funding for the project.

My first thought on “The Marvel Experience” is budgetary. Is $30 million anywhere near enough money to produce an interactive theme park attraction of this magnitude, let alone move the entire production from city to city every week? “Spider-man: Turn off the Dark” cost more than twice that amount just to get off the ground, and it only had to play one city.

I like the idea of bringing a theme-park-quality attraction to the masses instead of forcing guests to travel to a specific park to experience something spectacular, but with only a $30 million budget, will this attraction feel more like the Ringling Brothers Circus at the local fairgrounds than the “Spider-Man” ride at Universal Studios? Does Disney and Marvel risk cheapening their characters and brand with a watered down “trailer rig” attraction?
This news does sort of overshadow the minimal effort Disney seemed to put into their earlier “Iron Man” promotional attraction and their recently announced, seemingly similar, “Thor” attraction. “The Marvel Experience” producers have already announced their ambition to create a second leg to the US tour that would serve as a “sequel” to the first attraction.

This is big news that brings with it lots of questions: What will it ultimately look like? What does this mean for Disney’s plans for Marvel attractions at its own parks? What do you think of this?

Readers' Opinions

From James Trexen on August 22, 2013 at 7:00 PM
I think Marvel would want to avoid mentioning "Turn Off the Dark" unless they want hospital bills to exceed the budget. ; )
From Andrew Dougherty on August 22, 2013 at 7:06 PM
I really enjoyed Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark when I saw it in March.
From Aaron McMahon on August 22, 2013 at 7:22 PM
I'm sure Marvel fans will pay to get a meet and greet with Rocket Racoon once he becomes the breakout character of Guardians of the Galaxy movie. I doubt Disney will allow him in their parks in all his gun-wielding glory.
From O T on August 22, 2013 at 9:06 PM
The lawyers of the 2 companies will have a blast if Disney is calling this a mobile theme park or the stuff they have there "rides". And indeed 30 million is just enough for imaginering to produce the signs and 5 costumes.
On the other hand this could be an amazing promotion vehicle for Islands of Adventure where, after fans got a taste they go and decide to go for the real ting, the Hulk coaster, Spiderman ride and more...
From Anon Mouse on August 23, 2013 at 12:32 PM
I'm surprised that there was absolutely no mention of "Batman Live!". This production was played all around the US and originated in Great Britain. I saw the production at the Honda Center. Think of the show as a stage production with circus elements. I thought the acrobatics were substandard. The story was boring. The Joker magic acts were stale. The dancing was amateurish.

The show didn't sell out. They bumped me from the cheap seats in the upper balconey to the lower seats. I'm glad I didn't spend more money on this.

Note: The show utilized the LCD screens to change the scenery and provide special effects. I expect the Marvel show to do the same. Will it be a real ride? I don't think so. Perhaps the audience will sit in their seat. At the right time, they will ask them to put on their 3D glasses and the show(ride) begins for a short duration.

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