As for that overhaul, is anyone else interested in Universal actually doing something with the properties they own? I would love to see some attractions based on their classic lineup of old school movie monsters. I can't be the only one with this desire...
Personally, USH has always lack the detailed quality like Disneyland does and being on a confined lot that squeezes right against a working film back lot serves each other as a tumor next to a brain. But since now they are planning on more space, I hope to see that USH can work on plans of table serving restaurants and even bars, so the locals like us with an annual pass can true see this place as a resort other than merely a park for compromised vacation.
This master planned expansion clearly explains the delay in starting the Harry Potter addition to the park.
I don't like your comment "half a billion bucks more than Disney California Adventure's rebuild". That is misleading your audience by misstating the facts. That statement infers that Universal is doing something better by spending more on the theme park than Disney did which is not true.
The proposed $1.5 billion includes a significant expansion of CityWalk, new hotels, expanded parking, studio expansion, plus significant infrastructure improvements property wide, besides the theme park expansion and improvements. The improvements aside from those in the theme park will account for a very large portion of that proposed amount, so I think it's very obvious that Universal will ultimately spend much less on the park than Disney did recently on California Adventure.
Regardless, it's still welcome news, but you shouldn't try to infer that Universal is going to upstage Disney by spending more on their theme park when it is obviously untrue.
Finally, I think Universal really positions the Hollywood park towards tourists who are visiting Los Angeles. They do market to locals, but they also understand the limitations of the park and how it loses its appeal with frequent, repeat visits. Even with some additional room for the park, which is a very minimal amount, there is only so much they can do.
The Harry Potter franchise has amassed more than $21 billion for Warner Brothers through the books, films, DVD and merchandise sales. It's the #1 movie franchise of all-time and one of the most successful creative franchises ever as a whole.
The original Star Wars film was released in 1977 and today, in 2012 it remains a marketable franchise, in use, in Disney's theme parks today. However, it's been 35 years since the original film was released and seven years since the release of the last one - Episode 3.
Star Wars fans are pretty fanatical, but Harry Potter fans just as much so, if not even more so. The fans of today will have their children of tomorrow reading the books.
I'm not a fan, but the films are amazing and apparently the books even more so. The Harry Potter books appeal is not based on a trend or fad, so their appeal will span generations.
Universal isn't gambling with the Harry Potter franchise. It's a sure thing and without a doubt I know it will retain its presence in some or all of their theme parks 30 years from now.
Your argument that J.K. Rowlings latest book didn't sell as well (with over hyped predictions) is irrelevant. Did George Lucas' failure "Howard The Duck" topple the Star Wars franchise? Absolutely not. What J.K. Rowlings does or does not do from here out will have NO impact on what she did do with Harry Potter!
I'm tired of Star Wars and I felt the newest trilogy is horrible, but I expect new fans to enjoy the movies and there are plenty of content to see over and over again. I have a friend that comtemplated buying the 6 movie series in Blu-Ray. He did. So much for taste.
Harry Potter will live on. Who knows if they will do a reboot? People are expecting a reboot of Batman in 5 years. They don't even bother waiting 20 years for remakes anymore. Spiderman and The Hulk was remade in record time. I'm one of the people who hated the original Harry Potter movie. The latter movies gotten better. The last movie was very well done, but the kids seem too old for the parts. Nonetheless, there is much of the books that never made it to the movies due the time constraints. I can seem them filming side stories to bulk up the media. Perhaps a television series will develop. Why not? There is no constraint except for the author's permission.
As for Universal, there is much speculation, but I hope they get their park right. Too much of its development seem like a mismash. They need to get the theming right to feel like a Disney Park. The Wizarding World will have a big impact. Finally, Universal Studios gets a weenie (the Hogwarts Castle).
No need to be quite so aggressive. A simple 'I disagree with your comment' would have sufficed...
But I still don't buy that Potter has the lasting appeal of Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. I'm happy to be proved wrong but it seems to me that something like Star Wars appealed across a wider age range than Potter and will stand the test of time better. And as for the films being 'amazing' I've watched all 8 this year and apart from the last one they are anything but amazing... They were successful because the franchise was successful, not because the films themselves were any good.
Now, would you like to shout me down again or can we just agree to hold different points of view?
Personally, I agree with you completely.
As for Universal Hollywood, they should milk the cash cow regardless of the lasting impact of a series of kids' books. If the attractions are good enough they can easily be retrofitted into a new "hot" theme if/when Potter fades into the background.
When you compare Harry Potter to Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, you'll notice an overlap of qualities that Harry Potter has. Thus the criteria for Harry Potter's future success is a premise that's still in the running.
Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.1. Out longer - That's the only thing they have in common.
Star Wars and Harry Potter.2. # Films, 6 versus 8.3. Revenue, Huge.4. Theme parks, Disney/Legoland versus Universal.
Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.4. # Books, 3 versus 7.
It's strange that we should be burying Harry Potter after the series ended. Did we do the same for Star Wars? No. Fans were clamoring for sequels. Same for Lord of the Rings with the Hobbit.
Harry Potter will definitely have sequels. First with the theme park counterparts. Then with other possibilities.
"J.K. Rowling alludes to possibility of a future 'Harry Potter' book"
1. The test of time- Star Wars is a classic and you can't deny that. A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back are considered to be two of the best films ever made. Now let's look at HP. While good, will people still talk about the films in 15 years?
2. Quality- The only bad SW films are considered to be Episodes I and II (yes James,VI wasnt bad; You just can't stand those damn Ewoks ;) ). Episodes III and VI are considered good films. IV and V have universal acclaim. Let's look at HP. All 8 are considered good films (about the same quality as III and VI), but haven't recieved near universal acclaim. IMO, Phantom Menace was better than COS and OOTP.
3. Expanded universe- I could go on about SW. With 2 (soon 4) TV shows, novels, a great ride, and the second highest grossing movie merch, it's clear that people love the EU. HP doesn't have an EU minus WWOHP. I know JK was looking into a spinoff, but wasn't she done with HP?
STAR WARS is better than HP.
That's wasn't the debate. The debate is whether HP has lasting appeal.
If Disney wants to do a Star Wars Land and beat the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, then it would be a good decision. But they didn't and instead went with Avatar and might add a Cars Land in Hollywood Studios.
The Harry Potter expansion tells us there is much appeal that extends beyond the books and it is strictly about the movie since the theme park version is built on the movie series.
Anyways, the picking apart of the Star Wars movies versus Harry Potter is rather lame. I'd rather have the Star Wars versus Star Trek comparison. That's more fun.
I'm not burying Harry Potter at all - far from it - I think the phenomenon will be around for a few years yet and very popular. If Universal open a wizarding world in LA the quality of the build alone will guarantee crowds. (After all Transformers is hardly a great franchise and yet it produces a thrilling and immersive ride - people don't give a damn what the theme is sometimes if the product is good). What I said was that I don't see it, AS YET, generating the next generation of excitement that will perpetuate the popularity of the franchise, hence my query about its staying power. I understand why Universal are investing big bucks in Harry Potter. I'd be amazed if JK Rowling didn't write something further - although she said in interviews this week that she would categorically NOT write a sequel or a prequel. The only thing she MIGHT write if she got a good enough idea would be a 'parallel' story, fleshing out the existing books.
Harry Potter is huge at the moment and the Wizarding Worlds will continue to draw punters for some time yet, but does it have the staying power of, say, Star Wars? Hmmm. Not convinced it's in the same league.
It could have lasting appeal in its own right.
Universal is in a large pond of theme parks, but Harry Potter in Universal is in its own smaller pond and it will do well. Star Wars in Disneyland and Disney Studios is barely even there. Based on money invested, they done lots more for Cars (an entire land with a gigantic E-Ticket) than they done for Star Wars.
There are rumors of George Lucas selling out. Maybe Disney should buy it. Then there is incentive for Disney to keep expanding the property. Maybe they should do a reboot.
I'm merely expressing an opinion that Harry Potter might not be a lasting franchise like Star Wars. That doesn't mean it's not commercially sensible for Universal to invest in it right now - they'll see a huge return on any investment I'm sure. And we've already seen they can use it to create truly world-beating attractions and immersive lands. We all win here. I'm merely wondering aloud whether there'll still be the same love for it in, say, 20 years?
And anyway, it's only an opinion that the films are mostly poor. You are entitled to hold the opposite opinion. It's all subjective...
There are new rumors of "Jurrasic Park" reboot. This will definitely save the ride.
These movies never die. They just keeping getting remade. Maybe not having a reboot doomed ET.
Do you think Star Wars popularity will remain steady? It seems like George Lucas is doing everything possible to alienate fans.
1. Change the original movies. Annoying new special effects. Han Solo now shoots second, not first, in the cantina.
2. Jar Jar Binks.
4. Star Wars homage is satire. Stop with the parodies and the dance offs.
5. Trilogy sequels did not live up to expectations. Acting and script exposes weakness of the Star Wars storyline.
Despite all this, this is what Harry Potter competes with (rolls eyes).
Even with "good" movie status, that won't matter much to visitors who go to the park, they will ride or watch whatever is there.
There are current attractions based on:
Terminator 2 (21 years old) - People still pile into this.
Waterworld (17 years old) - People still pile into this.
Flintsones midway - People still play these games.
Even Back to the Future was an old franchise when it went was retired. Things like Jaws, Twister, ET, etc. are all OLD movies, but when it comes to the theme park experience.....guest will still ride it if they can.
So even if Potter is 15-20 years old, unless UNIVERSAL closes it down, people will still ride whatever is there.
If it's on that theme park map under "attractions", & guest have paid to get into the park, they're going to try & do everything they can, regardless of the franchise.
I'm sure there are people who ride ToT who have never watched Twilight Zone or people who visit Carsland who haven't seen the movie.
Popular franchises are helpful, but not essential in getting people to ride anything, people will ride whatever is there.
The park needs more attractions and a much friendlier layout. If money was no object I would suggest:
1. Replace the escalators with a quicker transportation tool to get to the lower lot. This would be a very expensive addition, but it would make the park a more cohesive experience. An alternative to this would be adding a parking garage that lets out into the lower lot or adding an additional tram station that allows visitors to exit to the lower lot.
2. Refresh Jurassic Park with new animatronics and a better queue. When I rode it last Sunday only one of the animatronics worked and the falling car didn't work. The ride needs some loves.
3. Split the upper lot into 3 lands: an animation land, a monster themed land (I've seen this suggested several times in the comments) and of course Harry Potter. Universal has such a great library of monsters to draw from and they haven't exploited them much lately.
4. Animation Land would include the Madagascar Crate Adventure ride from Singapore, an updated version of the Simpsons ride with Transformers quality Christie projectors (The current picture is so blurry), and a How to Train Your Dragon KUKA arm dark ride where you ride on the back of a dragon (Similar to a combination between Soarin Over California and The Forbidden Journey).
5. Monster Land would include Universal's House of Horrors (With more actors), Dracula's Transylvania dark ride, and a Scooby Doo dark ride. I would love a Young Frankenstein stage show, but after the disastrous Creature from the Black Lagoon show I'm not sure if that's a good idea. In a perfect world the Revenge of the Mummy ride would be moved to this area too.
6. Add a Fast and the Furious ride that uses a test track ride system combined with a KUKA robotic arm to the lower lot
7. Refresh the studio tour by incorporating parts of the Special Effects Stage Show into the tour and a drive through attraction for kids that incorporates some great Dreamworks Animation and Warner Bros cartoon characters. A limited budget attraction for kids could be accomplished by just bringing the Grinch props into a stage, adding some painted backgrounds, some singing Whos, a Grinch, and some falling snow.
As for Potter/Transformers attractions, it doesn't matter that the popularity of both franchises will wane in the years ahead because the rides themselves transcend the limitations of their source material. Besides, Universal is really good at retro fitting old attractions with new themes. Not a problem.