Theme Park Insider

Terminator 2:3D to close at Universal Orlando next month

September 7, 2017, 8:51 AM · The Universal Orlando Resort let slip this morning that it will close the Terminator 2:3D show at Universal Studios Florida next month.

Attentive readers noticed this morning that the T2:3D page on Universal Orlando's website included a new note at the bottom of the attraction's description, revealing that the attraction "will run its last shows on Sunday, October 8 to make way for an all-new live action experience based on a high-energy Universal franchise. It will open in 2019."

Universal has since pulled down the note, returning the page to its previous form. Like most major parks, Universal typically doesn't bury news like this on attraction listing pages. If it is going to officially confirm an attraction closure, it usually does that with social media posts and press releases. The clock is now ticking on when we will see those.

So what could this "live action experience based on a high-energy Universal franchise" be? The Fast and the Furious is already getting a new ride in the park for next year, so we probably can rule out that. Hollywood Boulevard seems a strange place for anything related to Jurassic Park/World. More Minions? A Jason Bourne show, which probably wouldn't be that different from T2? Dark Universe, even though that's hardly taken off yet?

Universal Studios Hollywood closed its Terminator 2:3D show in 2012 to make way for its Despicable Me ride and adjoining Super Silly Fun Land. That park also has a year-round The Walking Dead Attraction that would seem to fit in T2:3D's Florida space. But TWD isn't a Universal franchise, as Universal uses it under license from AMC.

Universal does have the DreamWorks Animation franchises at its disposal now, but those seem a potentially odd fit for a "live action" show. (How ironic would it be, though, if screen-happy Universal went live action for its animation franchises?)

So let's throw this out there: If Universal wants to promote one of its current popular live-action franchises that would be "perfect" for a theme park show, the next candidate up would be a Pitch Perfect musical show. Plausible?

What are you hoping to see in T2:3D's space at Universal Studios Florida?

Replies (52)

September 7, 2017 at 9:04 AM · Given that the show broke down twice in 2 days (one fatal error when the sound cut out, and one strange but non fatal error when the bike did not appear) I think its clear it does need to close at least for a complete overhaul. That the IP is stale (with numerous lackluster sequels) and was only playing to 1/2-2/3 full theatres at the time despite limited show times mean that just an overhaul can't be justified - replacement is overdue.

Don't get me wrong, I liked the show (even though the 3D didn't always work for me), the whole live actors + movie thing is brilliant... and I hope whatever replaces it keeps that up, but this is overdue.

September 7, 2017 at 9:06 AM · YES!!!!! Finally - we always walk past the out dated boring attraction...

Funny you mention Jason Bourne since I have been saying that to UO twitter account for the past two years....

September 7, 2017 at 9:25 AM · Terminator was a really good show but I think it is time for it to go. Quite a few universal rides need updating such as Shrek 4D and fear factor live. Seeing as Nintendo land is presumed to be going near ET I don't presume that this new ride/show will be kid based, probably more teen or adult based.
September 7, 2017 at 9:28 AM · My vote is for "DarkUniverse" aka Universal Monsters, but I won't hold my breath.
September 7, 2017 at 9:50 AM · Fear Factor live was not operating the entire time I was there. Perhaps it has already quietly gone?
September 7, 2017 at 9:59 AM · Terminator 2:3D Battle Across Time was without doubt an amazing show for its time. Sadly, that time has come and gone. I saw it countless times working Duty Manager shifts at USF in the 90's and early 00's. Without fail, the entire audience would break in to applause when the massive LN2 blast swallowed up the theater at the end of the show.
The show had it all, but my favorite element of the entire show was the fantastically smarmy Kimberly Duncan. Cyberdyne Systems' Director of Community Relations and Media Control. She was one of the greatest theme park villains ever. I'm sad that she will never again look down (her nose) at a room full of tourists again to tell us how, "Super" everything is. Her demise also brought cheers and applause from the audience, me among them.
I love Robert's idea of a Pitch Perfect show moving into the theater. Seems to me the Ragtime Gals have shown us people love close harmony and mash ups. The thing about a show with live performers - and enough to compose acapella choirs - is they are expensive! Here is where we will see how willing UO is to spend a great big mess of Potter money. Personal, I think it'd be SUPER!
September 7, 2017 at 9:56 AM · A shame but it is rather outdated and Arnie's stardom falling over the years since. Hard to see, I would imagine Universal was thinking a "Dark Universe" thing but that entire franchise looks DOA so hard to tell. Tricky but so many properties out there, I'm sure Universal can click on something fun but will miss the great '90s vibe of this attraction.
September 7, 2017 at 10:17 AM · It's a shame that yet another of Universal's original attractions is on the way out, but I understand why. Personally, I'd love to see TWD take its place. Something a little more adult orientated would be nice, what with Super Nintendo Land coming, in the near future.
September 7, 2017 at 10:31 AM · SUPER!!!

This was a great live action show, mixing real world elements with 3D in a way that captured your imagination.

I certainly understand why it needs to go, and I'm excited to see what is next!

September 7, 2017 at 10:32 AM · Another once beloved attraction thrown to the curb. Not a fan of this decision.
September 7, 2017 at 10:37 AM · Another Terminator sequel with Arnold is in development with James Cameron doing the story. It is better if they can update the attraction to the current storyline. The show was very good and Disney, sadly, never surpassed it.

I wonder if the next one to drop is Muppets. Either update Muppets or close it.

September 7, 2017 at 10:37 AM · Back to the Future new Ride?
September 7, 2017 at 10:39 AM · The problem with a Pitch Perfect show would be the cost to license all the songs. A theme park a cappella singing show cannot survive on original songs alone, and part of the charm of the movies has been the interesting arrangements/takes on popular songs. Anyway, a singing/dancing show would be best staged at the more traditional Beetlejuice Theater, not a space currently rigged for intricate special effects.

I had noted over on the initial thread in the Discussion section about the potential of a Pacific Rim attraction, which could have a similar script to the T2 show. However, I wonder that despite a sequel coming in 2018, if that franchise might be too niche for a major theme park.

Bourne would seem like a good fit, but Universal only holds distribution rights for the series, not the production/IP rights (unless they have them hidden away somewhere). I also don't know if UO needs another true stunt show with Sinbad running next door at IOA, which a Bourne show would be (the productions have been hallmarked by conventional stunts and limited use of CGI). Unless, of course, having a standard stunt show at USF gives Universal the freedom to eliminate Sinbad and free up even more space adjacent to WWoHP.

September 7, 2017 at 10:54 AM · "Fifty Shades of Grey: The Live Experience"

@James, parks have to keep evolving, otherwise they'll risk stagnation. If Universal continues to hold onto their clunkers, they'll get blown in the dust when Disney opens all of their headliners over the next few years. Universe of Energy and The Great Movie Ride certainly had their fans, but Disney chose to look to the future rather than the past.

September 7, 2017 at 10:53 AM · I hear you James, but you have to admit T2 was on its last legs, and the multiple attempts to reboot the series have failed miserably. As I've stated many times in other forums, the beauty of screen based attractions is that they can be easily and more economically updated to keep up with pop culture. I think all too often theme parks maintain the status quo of their screen-based attractions that were never designed to be static. The whole selling point of these 4-D theaters and motion simulators was the ability for parks to quickly and cheaply switch out the content if the original attraction grew stale or the park wanted to move onto something new. These attraction systems were never supposed to house "classics", they were designed to stay on the cutting/bleeding edge of technology and guest experience. Universal probably ran T2 about 2-3 years too long, but then again Twister probably ran about 2-3 years too long also.
September 7, 2017 at 11:00 AM · "Fifty Shades of Grey: The Live Experience"

You forgot something there James. The note from Universal stated it would be replaced with an "all-new live action experience". I wouldn't want a Fifty Shades of Grey attraction unless there was some "action" involved.

September 7, 2017 at 11:15 AM · I hope its not Pitch Perfect. How would that be different than any singing show at a Cedar Fair or Six Flags park. It seems well below Universal's threshold.
September 7, 2017 at 11:23 AM · The scariest aspect of TWD in Hollywood is the contingent of big, sweaty Unversal security guards tasked with preventing any violations of the "No pictures/videos" policy.

Otherwise? Meh.

September 7, 2017 at 11:25 AM · It's about time to bring back the Ghostbusters...a high tech version....

The idea, though, of a new stunt show so they can shut down Sinbad also makes a certain amount of sense.

September 7, 2017 at 11:46 AM · I'm sad to see this closing, but as a 21 year old show based on a franchise with a questionable future I'm not at all surprised. As good as the show is, a 3-D movie just doesn't bring in the crowds anymore, and like Chad mentioned it probably isn't worth the upkeep given the audience size. I'll be sure to see it on my trip at the end of the month (I'm glad this one is staying long enough for me to get to it), but I definitely feel like it is probably time for this one to go.

As for what should replace it, I'd say Bourne would be great if they want to go with more of a traditional stunt show and Pacific Rim would be a good option if the keep the hybrid format. I'm not sold on the idea of a Pitch Perfect show...there's a reason USH cancelled their plans to bring that one to the park, and I don't know that it would do any better at USF.

September 7, 2017 at 12:19 PM · I absolutely LOVE T2! It's my favorite 4D theater attraction that I've ever done! But I do agree it is tired and might need to go.
September 7, 2017 at 12:27 PM · Another one bites the dust! One of my all-time favourite attractions. I will genuinely be sad to see it go especially as I don't arrive until after its last day but I understand it is probably time for a change. My money is for an action live show - Johnny English - or a musical - Mama Mia. Both are Universal's and both will be having sequels .
September 7, 2017 at 12:32 PM · It might be a strange thought at first, but could there be a "Wicked" attraction/show? NBCUniversal Stage Production division has been ramping up.
September 7, 2017 at 1:23 PM · "High Energy" implies Action film genre imo. Bourne would be great but is well passed the hight of popularity. Ironically Fast/Furious should be in this location as the films are rooted in LA, not San Francisco. Disney would've been slammed for that theming vioation lol.
September 8, 2017 at 8:12 AM · I, for one, am glad they closed it, for numerous reasons. And I've seen that the store from that attraction has, for some reason, lots of Doctor Who stuff to sell. Now, that may be a long shot, but if Universal acquired the rights for Doctor Who from BBC... Could a Doctor Who attraction come? Probably not, but hey, a man can dream. Also, they have been closing a lot of stuff lately... And I fear for one of my favorite, most underrated rides: Doctor Doom's Fearfall. Stay strong, Doom, stay strong...
September 7, 2017 at 2:36 PM · Well Luke, funny you should mention Doctor Who. The Retail outlet you exit through after watching T2 is full of Doctor Who Merch... and I can't work out why.

The theatre would be a great place for some sort of Dalek invasion.

September 7, 2017 at 2:48 PM · Russell and James: there are several other dud attractions still running at Universal that should be shuttered first. Terminator is still a viable IP and with a little refurb love, a viable attraction as well. The sad thing is I just know they're going to bring in some IP that I don't care about... Secret Life of Pets the 5D attraction where costume characters actually pee on you and hump your leg. Yeah!
September 7, 2017 at 2:50 PM · I was hoping to see this show one last time on our Orlando vacation next month. I've always loved the "in your face" type of theme park 3D. Why not replace Fear Factor instead? That show needs to go.
September 7, 2017 at 3:03 PM · Ready Player One is getting a sequel....but not sure if that lends itself to the space where T2 currently resides.
September 7, 2017 at 6:27 PM · While I could imagine an awesome attraction similar to both Spider-Man and Transformers themed to the Terminator storyline, I also agree that Terminator 2: 3D is long overdue for a replacement since the movie itself is 27 years old now. The only downside is that the movie itself just got re-released into theaters with a 3D upgrade and I recently went to see it in theaters and it was awesome rewatching a classic such as Terminator 2 on the big screen again and so naturally, I'm excited to see the Terminator 2: 3D attraction at Universal again since it goes with the story of the movie a bit. Thankfully I'll get the chance since I'm going later this month and the show doesn't close till the beginning of next month, but again I agree it is time to see something new take its place.
September 8, 2017 at 5:29 PM · Kinda glad it's closed, it's outdated, I didn't go on it at all when I went to USH And USF for several years. It's outdated, it's boring, and the Terminator franchise isn't as popular as it used to be. Universal wants to (and should) leverage its own IPs, like Disney now is doing with Star Wars and Marvel, since they never own the Terminator franchise to begin with.

@Jay R.it says that it's going to be based on a high-energy Universal franchise and Ready Player One is distributed by Warner Bros.

September 7, 2017 at 8:07 PM · I would really, really REALLY like a WWE show to go there. There are rumors of Global Force Wrestling (known to most of y'all as TNA) moving out because of corporate moving from Nashville to Toronto, which would give WWE the opportunity to move in.
September 7, 2017 at 8:21 PM · Just want to point out that the last Terminator movie, which was one of the worst movies ever, even worse than Jurassic World, was the second highest grossing film of the series.
September 7, 2017 at 8:49 PM · D A L E K S
Love it!
September 8, 2017 at 12:04 AM · James Rao The last Terminator bombed badly and didn't even make the top ten rank highest grossing movies of 2015. It gotten so bad James Cameron has to get involved and rewrite the whole thing, with the actors/actresses involved not returning again. So as it stands, the Terminator franchise has gotten really bad over the past two decades since T2 and Universal really needs to use its own IPs properly more often.
September 8, 2017 at 5:32 AM · A lot of movies didn't make it in the top 10 highest grossing list of 2015. So what? Genisys was a bad movie - not every lousy movie makes money like Jurassic World did. However, the last Terminator movie was the second highest grossing film in the series. I never said it did great or that it was a good movie (only 1 & 2 were good, imho), just said it made the second most money ($440M).
September 8, 2017 at 7:05 AM · Sorry James, but using world wide gross numbers comparing films decades apart is not really fair. Yes, the $440 million world-wide number (not adjusted for inflation) is good enough for 2nd best in the series. However, if you look at the numbers more closely, you'll see that Genisys was DEAD LAST in the 5-movie series in terms of domestic box office after being adjusted for inflation. If you're talking about the viability of an attraction in a US theme park, that's the number you should be looking at, not a world-wide box office number that is meaningless when comparing a movie today (that's shown on exponentially more screens in southeast Asia today than movies did just 10 years ago) to movies made 20+ years ago that relied predominantly on domestic box office receipts to gauge success/popularity. Those international numbers also don't adjust for inflation, nor do they consider rising production and marketing budgets. By this metric, Universal should have shown Brendan Fraser the pink slip months ago to plaster Tom Cruise all over Revenge of the Mummy following The Mummy's $400+ million world-wide gross (just $80 million in the US) earlier this summer.

Let's be real here, the Terminator franchise is DOA unless Cameron comes back in the fold, which he really doesn't have time to do right now while working on 3 Avatar sequels. I don't see a lot of people mourning the loss of T2, and I'm not sure what other attractions at USF would precede it in terms of needing refreshed, aside from KidZone (perhaps Shrek-4D). It's not like you're going to USF anyway James since you reject the notion of paying $55 for a train.

September 8, 2017 at 7:15 AM · Hey, about a Game of Thrones attraction.....

Daenerys, Jon Snow, Queen Cersei....

Bend the Knee......

GOT is on HBO which I believe is part Time Warner who might be bought by ATT - so I believe there is no Disney affiliations to worry about.....

September 8, 2017 at 8:18 AM · When talking about the popularity of an IP (not an attraction) the worldwide numbers are important. Otherwise Universal should have never built a Transformers ride at its two US parks, since the last two movies have been propped up by big numbers in China, despite quickly diminishing box office receipts in the US. As for adjusting for inflation, who cares? If that metric mattered then why isn't someone building a Gone with the Wind ride since it is far and away the most popular movie of all time, adjusting for inflation? Also, an IP is not just its movies - it is comics, novels, toys, TV shows, video games, card games, etc. etc. Terminator isn't a thriving franchise by any means, but it is still quite relevant in the public psyche and far more worthy of saving than something like Fear Factor or Shrek or Woody Woodpecker or the Horror Make Up Show - to name a few marginal attractions whose displacement would be more palatable.

But you are right, Russell, the likelihood of me paying a $55 upcharge to ride a train diminishes more and more with every beloved attraction Universal kicks to the curb.

September 8, 2017 at 8:13 AM · Terminator still has popularity and in today's box office, worldwide box office matters more than domestic box office. Terminator is less of dud compared with some real turkeys. The main reason to keep it is foreign visitors who still will appreciate the story along with Transformers. These are movies that are increasingly made for foreign audiences including that of the new Mummy. So Universal should choose to prop up it's middling movies just like Disney does for Brave-Tangled-Pocohontas-Princess/Frog-Moana. They are all mild successes.
September 8, 2017 at 8:42 AM · But James, the world-wide numbers are meaningless compared to a movie from 36 years ago, when the original Terminator played on maybe a hundred screens outside the US. There's been a massive shift in the international market lead by huge theater expansions in China and a thirst for American-made movies, often backed by Chinese investors. Frequently these big international numbers are not indicative of a movie's popularity (even overseas) or future sequels' success because audiences in the Eastern Hemisphere are gobbling up anything coming from Hollywood, which is why Asian and Middle Eastern financiers are pumping so much cash into the international marketing of movies right now. Long story short, you could release "Craptacular Forty-Deuce: The Movement to End All Sequels" today in China, and it would still rake in hundreds of millions of dollars if backed by the right distributor(s). It doesn't mean people like the movie, the Craptacular franchise, will buy merch, or be drawn to attractions themed around the movie, it just means the billions of people that live in China and other Asian countries have just discovered the magic of movies. Like a kid getting their first Matchbox car, they play with it and want to keep collecting more and more until they realize it's a fool's errand to keep up. Serious collectors will stay with it as they grow up, but most kids will give up on the toy and move onto something more interesting. China's movie market is still in its infancy, but at some point the market will either become saturated (tough to imagine with a literally "captive" audience of billions) or discerning tastes become more prominent in steering "better" movies to market.

I think you're also discounting the cost of the attraction to Universal. They don't own the T2 rights, so are presenting it under a licensing agreement. Who knows how much that costs them on an annual basis, but it's certainly not free like Fear Factor (under the NBC/Comcast umbrella) or Sinbad (in the public domain). Whether they use one of their internally-owned IPs or go out and negotiate for a new IP, the costs to license an IP that has fallen out of favor has to be a major consideration in addition to lagging popularity of the attraction itself.

September 8, 2017 at 10:25 AM · Russell, I am not disagreeing with your breakdown of the business side of box office receipts. But that business is all about the bottom line, and nothing you are telling me changes the fact that the last Terminator movie was the second highest grossing film in the series. Also, if I am reading your posts and the other posts in this discussion correctly, everyone seems to be saying that if someone made a GOOD Terminator film (if Cameron resurrected the franchise) it would be a big hit. Which tells me the market is still there for this IP, that it has NOT fallen out of favor, as you put it.

As for operational costs, when Universal is raking in the dough at $55 a clip just for a train ride, I am sure they can afford to keep this attraction going - or better yet, to build something new but still based on the same IP. Honestly, once T2 goes, the only IPs left of interest to me will be the Mummy and maybe ET. Why would I pay Disney prices to go to that park when it does not in any way cater to my tastes? If it is just for the rides, I'd rather pay half the cost and go to Cedar Point where I can get some real big boy thrills. Universal doesn't want my business - I get it. To them I am a vanishing breed, a child of the 70's and 80's who will likely be dead within 23 years. They want to go after a different, hipper crowd - more power to 'em. But I am not dead yet, so I am still going to voice my dissent when they take away something I love.

September 8, 2017 at 9:04 AM · That brings me to another point. Disney announced earlier this week that they will be pulling all of their content from Netflix in 2019 to migrate to their new streaming service. Other media conglomerates appear to be doing the same thing by holding onto what they own/control instead of licensing out to other distributors/outlets. So what you used to be able to watch with a single cable subscription, despite increasing costs, now requires dozens of individual subscriptions or users playing Russian Roulette to determine what services they subscribe to at a given time, spending more than even the most expensive cable service.

I think in the next 10-20 years, as the biggest theme parks start to lean more and more on IP (instead of developing original themed concepts), you will see a consolidation of IPs at specific parks. At some point, I think most major theme parks will be owned by media/entertainment companies, and will only contain attractions with IPs under their corporate umbrella. The costs of licensing content will be too great for smaller parks to survive, and will subsequently purchased by media companies or gobbled up by other operators. Also, companies will place huge bounties on IPs they own, making it financially untenable for anyone to develop an attraction from an IP they don't own without physically buying the company that holds the IP rights (like Disney buying Marvel and Lucasfilm). Only the largest parks will be able to license outside their umbrella, and even those licenses will be few and far between (think Avatar and Harry Potter, and perhaps LOTR). I think they'll be even further consolidation of the entertainment market down to perhaps 3 or 4 large production companies/distributors that will control virtually every IP on the planet. It's really depressing, but I think that's where all of this is headed, and Disney's latest moves are leading the charge.

September 8, 2017 at 9:13 AM · Well then, Universal better get busy buying companies - because they don't own the three bread and butter IPs that are driving their success (Marvel, Potter, and soon, Nintendo) - and if things centralize as you suggest, then the cost of licensing those IPs is just going to get higher and higher.
September 8, 2017 at 9:23 AM · I know. I think at some point Comcast and Time Warner are going to merge. Who buys whom isn't clear, but it's going to happen. Sony and Fox will then have to decide to join Disney or Comcast/TW or join forces to form their own conglomerate with the major video game companies hanging in the balance (Microsoft, Nintendo, and Atari). The biggest wild card will be Apple, and if they join with Disney, as some are predicting, it would create ripple effect just like all the colleges shuffling athletic conference affiliations over the past decade.
September 8, 2017 at 10:51 AM · On a weather related note - I thought James lived in FL also we all know TH creative lives there...

I hope all goes well for you folks in the next few days..

September 8, 2017 at 11:21 AM · Trexan maybe, but this James does not...thanks anyway, if you were talking about me. I live closer to Silver Dollar City than to Universal Studios! ;)

Brian's right... be safe, all of our comrades in the great state of Florida!

September 8, 2017 at 1:37 PM · I do live in a five story apartment in Tampa that is fortunately clear of evacuation zones. I'm just worried about some friends who live in one story houses closer to the water.
September 9, 2017 at 4:53 AM · Slightly off-topic, but as a UK resident I have to say the idea that worldwide box office didn't matter 30 years ago is complete rubbish. Oh sure, there was no China market or a fair bit of Asia but everywhere else was pretty bouyant. The claim the first Terminator film played on less than 100 screens outside the US is absurd - it played on 2 screens just in my small town and we only had 1 four-screen cinema!

It's a well-known, successful franchise but has probably pissed away a lot of goodwill.

September 12, 2017 at 7:46 AM · "Do you think there is a high cost to license a few songs? In reality there isn't. There is only a very limited amount of content that commands high licensing fees."

Music licensing is very expensive, and for a show where you could need as many as 12-15 songs in a 20-30 minute performance that plays 5-7 times every single day 365 days a year, the costs could get pretty high. Certainly in the short term, the music licensing would not outweigh the initial production costs (lighting, direction, writing, performers, staging, props, etc...), but as the costs of staging the production go down (aggregated over more and more performances), the music licensing is a constant, plucking pennies every time a performer opens their mouth. It may not seem like a lot, but over time, music licensing can get REALLY expensive. When you're talking about a show that would likely run for at least 2-3 years, that means over 5,000 performances with Universal cutting a check to ASCAP for each and every one (and that doesn't even include the licensing to use the movie title and if actors have any "back end" deals to use/reference their likeness from the movie - you better believe someone like Rebel Wilson has a clause requiring payment to use her Fat Amy likeness or anything coming close to it in connection with Pitch Perfect or any other a capella-style movie/show). So, even if you're using some of the more obscure songs from the movies or creating unique a capella arrangements of other, less-expensive songs, you're still looking at licensing costs in the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars for a 2-3 year production. Now, producers could deliberately select songs under the Universal label (not sure how much control Universal has over artists under their label), which could reduce costs (just like licensing an IP from their movie studio) essentially moving money internally from the theme park division to the music division. Though I believe there's still a requirement to pay ASCAP regardless of what label initially produced the song.

Nonetheless, that's still a pretty high cost compared to a stunt-style show where it's a single licensing fee paid up front or annually where Universal has more control over costs by using an internal IP. It's definitely not a drop in the bucket, and with a park that sees nearly 10 million guests per year, you better believe licensing songs, especially any specifically used in the movie (like "Cups"), would be a significant cost.

On a side note, that's one of the reasons Hard Rock Park failed. In addition to the poor marketing and bad timing with the Great Recession, the music licensing costs in park were astronomical. The license for Led Zeppelin alone (where just a single song was used) was reportedly over $1 million for not even 2 full seasons, and the park was restricted in the way they could use the song (had to present the song in its entirety from beginning to end). Just the background soundtrack for the park cost over $100,000 dollars per year, and that was during a time when ASCAP was not as aggressive, and "fair use" was more loosely defined than it is today. Playing popular songs in theme parks is far more expensive than you can imagine. Why do you think so many parks use Musak, Sirius/XM, come up with their own original soundtrack, or use predominantly symphonic music in the background?

September 12, 2017 at 1:49 PM · "Do you think there is a high cost to license a few songs? In reality there isn't."

That's what you said. I think I made a pretty convincing argument that licensing music is a pretty significant cost. Is it the only cost in a show, no, and I never portrayed it as such. Ultimately, the biggest cost for any live-show is the talent. Performers cost exponentially more than ride operators, and those behind the scenes of a live-show (lighting operators, techs, engineers, stage hands, etc...) also typically cost more than your run of the mill ride op.

My point was that a live-show based around the Pitch Perfect franchise would be cost prohibitive compared to a similar stunt-style live show in the mold of T2. Music licensing is not the drop in the bucket you're making it out to be, and in order to present a Pitch Perfect show, there would at the very least need to be a handful of songs from the franchise to form the foundation of the show's Book. "Cups" by itself over a 3-year production run would probably cost as much as whatever stunt show IP licensing they wanted to use (Bourne and the like), and then you'd need to buy another dozen or more songs to fill the 20+ minute performance. Music licensing is not necessarily cost prohibitive to large theme park operators, but when you're sinking millions of dollars into an attraction, you want that money to be well spent. Purchasing music licensing for a film franchise that is ending at the end of this year with songs that have a limited shelf life (sure you might come across a "classic" but over time, the show would need to be refreshed after a couple of years to integrate newer songs), does not give a theme park good bang for its buck, and certainly not a big enough bang to adequately replace T2.

Yes, HRP ultimately failed because the creators sold investors on some bogus attendance estimates, but those over-inflated numbers were necessary to acquire the financing to buy the music rights. Much of the operating budget for HRP wasn't sunk in rides (Led Zeppelin was the most expensive ride at less than $20 million for the coaster and installation) or infrastructure (the park reused many of the buildings and pathways already on the property), it was spent on IPs and music licenses. If they hadn't sunk so much money into those (ongoing costs), the park wouldn't have needed to clear 3 million guests per year to be profitable. The fact of the matter is that Steven Goodwin and Oliver Munday spared no expense in bringing HRP to life, and convinced investors that spending over $400 million for a theme park on the site of a former outlet mall was a good idea. As such, they spent a good chunk of that money on music rights and IPs/imaging figuring they needed the biggest music icons to draw the biggest crowds. I was at the media events at the park in 2008 (http://www.themeparkinsider.com/flume/200805/745/), and it was clear from the designers that the music licensing for the park was a significant cost, so much so that the subsequent Freestyle Music Park tried to use cheaper music to make the concept work, and still couldn't make ends meet.

September 14, 2017 at 5:31 AM · Ultimaterollercoaster, Universal is getting rid of T2 so they can stop paying fees and add a cheaper, in-house IP. That's it. Also, 50+ posts in this discussion thread alone provide some indication of T2's lasting appeal.

And are you really arguing to replace an ultra cool, action show with a Pitch Perfect song fest? Ugh. I hope not! What's next, more singing frogs and Hello Kitty stores?! Universal is losing its edge.

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