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Is Back to the Future returning to Universal Studios Hollywood?

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Published: May 3, 2014 at 11:27 AM

Back to the Future: The Ride disappeared from Universal Studios Hollywood in September 2007 to make way for The Simpsons Ride. But the classic Universal time-travel franchise might be returning to the theme park for its 30th anniversary next year.

No, the 3D motion-simulator movie ride won't be coming back, but what Universal is said to be considering might be even better. The new Back to the Future attraction would be an encounter on the new nighttime version of the park's backlot Studio Tour and would recreate the climatic scene when Marty returns "back to the future" in the DeLorean time machine on the very spot where the scene was filmed.

With the television series that had been filming on Universal's Courthouse Square backlot set wrapping production, Universal is free to recreate the Back to the Future set on the site. (Some of the original Courthouse Square sets burned in the June 2008 backlot fire that destroyed the original King Kong attraction.) The plan is that Universal would transform Courthouse Square to its faux-1955 look from the 1985 movie, which would serve as a drive-by attraction in itself for visitors on the regular, daytime version of the Studio Tour. But the real action would happen at night.

For the nighttime tour, the trams would stop at Courthouse Square for a four-minute stunt show that would put Doc Brown on the top of the clock tower, fumbling to plug in the wire that he's rigged to cross the road on the side of the square. Marty McFly's DeLorean ultimately would speed past, and with a mix of pyro, lighting, and sound effects, blast back to the future.

In the past, Universal's staged its Studio Tour encounters (Earthquake, Jaws, Kong, etc.) in purpose-built sets separate from the production facilities on the backlot. After all, you can't film on sets if tourist trams are driving through all day, which is why the line-up of production sets visited by the trams changes on almost a daily basis. But it's not unheard of for productions to film on the encounter sets if needed (Earthquake, in particular), and with 2015 being the 30th anniversary of the original Back to the Future film, switching Courthouse Square over to its most famous form for the year could help support a promotional push for the franchise. Remember, 2015 is big in the Back to the Future franchise, as that's the year Marty travels to in the second film.

So Marty might be coming back to Hill Valley's Courthouse Square in 2015, after all. How cool would that be?

Readers' Opinions

From Rob Pastor on May 3, 2014 at 11:37 AM
That's a WOW idea if they go through with it.
From Anthony Murphy on May 3, 2014 at 11:49 AM
Not bad, I would go and see it!
From Tim Chatlos on May 3, 2014 at 12:21 PM
This would be intensely awesome. I hope it happens!
From M. Ryan Traylor on May 3, 2014 at 12:25 PM
I've been saying for a couple of years, ever since people started posted the wrong future date that Doc & Marty go to Hill Valley (it's Wednesday, October 21, 2015) that Universal needs to retheme the Courthouse Square for 2015 Hill Valley. It would be an expensive undertaking considering the pond that has to go in the middle.

BUT, if the above article comes true, I would probably purchase my first annual pass to USH.

This sounds like a great idea for the nighttime expansion of the Tram Tour. Having worked on the backlot numerous times, there is a different look and feel to that area once the sun has set. I was happy to see that HHN expanded to areas on the backlot in 2013.

From Brandon Townsend on May 3, 2014 at 8:58 PM
That would be "heavy".
From 75.184.2.42 on May 3, 2014 at 10:51 PM
Yes! I love this idea!
From 66.18.218.249 on May 4, 2014 at 2:21 AM
This seems more like a pipe dream. Universal doesn't care about Back To The Future. If they did, they would have kept the ride. But here's hoping I'm wrong because this sounds awesome.
From 142.197.155.185 on May 4, 2014 at 4:03 PM
Sounds like the old Universal... spending millions to recreate something we've already seen from a much better viewpoint. Paying tribute to BTTF is a great idea, but SURPRISE US... involve us in the moment, twist the story, make our presence integral to whatever we're watching.
From Gabriel Schroll on May 4, 2014 at 6:13 PM
It takes a lot to get me out to SoCal, but I was a huge fan of the movies and I admit I miss the ride. If they can rebuild the set to the standards we expect and hope for, I don't see any reason I'd put my next trip off any longer.

I'm actually a little disappointed that I haven't heard anything regarding a special edition of the movie with updated graphics, special effects. Similar to the editions of Star Wars that everyone hates. But I thought it was a great idea, and some new effects, and updating of some key scenes would be awesome!

From Manny Barron on May 4, 2014 at 8:39 PM
This idea is insanely awesome. That's when you know a franchise is legendary when the last movie came out 25 years ago and Universal is planning an attraction based on it.

Great report by the way. This is why I have visited this site for a decade now.

From 69.113.65.4 on May 5, 2014 at 10:17 AM
That would be a great idea! "Back To The Future" is my favorite movie of all time! I miss the old ride , but this would be pretty cool. To see where it was originally made, and to recreate the town of "Hill Valley" would be awesome. It's like you're watching the movie as they are making it. As Marty said: "Doc, this is heavy."
From 24.45.28.245 on May 5, 2014 at 4:39 PM
Sounds cool.
From 24.74.123.8 on May 5, 2014 at 8:08 PM
PLEASE BRING THIS TO ORLANDO!!!!! WOW...I am just really overwhelmed with excitement over this. Please let it be true!!!!
From 99.104.160.85 on May 5, 2014 at 10:35 PM
"PLEASE BRING THIS TO ORLANDO!!!!!"

That would be completely pointless. The scene was filmed at Universal Studios Hollywood and the sets are already standing. It would be an enormous cost for them to duplicate it in Florida.

From 24.74.123.8 on May 6, 2014 at 8:11 PM
Well of course they don't have a court house square in Orlando, but they maybe could just do something similar?

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