They really need to develop a quality ride system for thrill seeking audiences. I know Disney is more for the family and magic. But kids grow up (like me) and crave something like Transformers/Harry Potter. These are the properties to do that with.
Now, as for the Lord of the Rings characters having names that are hard to remember...well, so does Avatar. And that did not stop Disney. The visuals of Avatar were what inspired Disney...and the visuals of Lord of the Rings are stunning too. It would be a great way to have a boy-centric fantasy and medieval kind of "land"...while Fantasyland in the MK is more for girls in that fantasy realm.
I also think Christopher Tolkien is quite elderly. He is 88 I think. He is not going to be around much longer.
His grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be the ones making the theme park deal. And they will follow the green. They don't agree with their grandfather.
But would I like to see Disney get it rather than Universal? You know what, I think I would. For all its credentials I found the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to be a strangely soulless place. Everything was in the right place but it felt like a film set. And the main attraction (Forbidden Journey) was technically brilliant but narratively incoherent. Universal aren't good at telling stories - they are good at the flash-bang-wallop and have enough money to create impressive attractions, but Tolkien was all about the story and story-telling and that instinctively fits better with Disney. Disney are also better at immersive landscaping in my opinion and I can see a Lord of the Rings addition to a theme park being, like Avatar, much more about immersion in the landscape than simply riding an attraction, (although LOTR has plenty of potential for great attractions).
But as has been pointed out - the Tolkien estate is so po-faced about their precious legacy that they are reluctant to sell the rights to anyone. So this may all be entirely pie-in-the-sky speculation....
And, to be quite honest, although I am a huge fan of Tolkien's works, I just don't see how this content could translate to theme park attractions. Maybe the movies could, because Jackson REALLY expanded on some things, and made other parts a lot more Hollywood than Tolkien did, but to me it just does not fit. While I thing Tolkien's works are FAR superior to the Harry Potter stuff, Harry Potter lends itself to this medium a lot better.
To me, this is as pie in the sky as thinking Universal will sell the Marvel rights back to Disney. When you get stubborn people who have no desire to deal, then there will be no deal.
So get ready for .....
The Hall of KingsSaurons Tower of TerrorThe Giant Eagle Ride (Dumbo)
Glow with the Show Hobbit Feet
And Hobbit Ale an apple flavour frozen drink that tastes quite like Le Fous Brew/Reds apple freeze
Seriously Disney have made a joke of the Star Wars universe and the last thing I ever want to see is a Hobbit versus Orc dance off so please Hands off Lord of the Rings Disney !!!!
As for "The Lord of The Rings", I wonder how Disney will approach the property. It can't possibly go into Animal Kingdom or DHS. The theming doesn't fit. Nor can it go into the Magic Kingdom or Epcot. It will have to be the anchor of a new 5th park called Tolkien-Land.
@articleI don't get why the estate is against the movies. After the (very successful) LOTR movies they could have stopped the Hobbit movies from being made. If they where so protective of their franchise I'm sure they wouldn't sell the movie rights of all the books. They surely don't get rich from the books sold (although great they are) but the movies and the endless stream of (awesome) merchandise do and will continue with the Hobbit movies. I'm sure one day the rights will end up at a theme park and I hope it won't be Six Flags. With Universal now at the top in ride innovation I hope they get the right but on the other hand Disney has got the space to do it justice if they wanted but after all the duds Disney presented the last 10 years (with 2 exceptions) I'd rather have some awesome rides then more rock work, miniatures and waterfalls.
I do think Disney has a lot on their plate right now considering the Avatar development, Star Wars development, and any West Coast Marvel developments, but Disney is big enough to make pretty much anything they want a reality. However, I don't think it would be a good match right now, unless this purchse would be to develop a new gate somewhere else in the world. I've always envisioned Middle Earth as its own park, and not just an add-on to an existing park. I certainly wouldn't want to see this franchise reduced to the in-park treatment that they gave to Narnia or the POTC sequels.
Tolkien's opus has been wildly successful (both critically and commercially) in both literature and in film. I doubt we would even have Star Wars or Harry Potter if it wasn't for Tolkien's masterpieces. He made fantasy a viable genre. Specifically, the LOTR has sold 150M copies making it #2 of all time (behind A Tale of Two Cities), and The Hobbit has sold 100M copies (6th of all time). The films have grossed almost $4B worldwide and the total will probably grow to over $6B once the final two Hobbit movies complete their theatrical run. Additionally, the films have won 17 Academy Awards, including Best Picture for Return of the King in 2003. In short, these works are VERY popular, and have been and will continue to be beloved from generation to generation. Anyone who thinks the characters and adventures of the Hobbit / LOTR are not well known is just flat out wrong. The pilgrimages to see a fully realized LOTR land or theme park would be tremendous, likely bigger than anything we have seen so far in the theme park industry.
Were the movies good? Yup, I loved em. Were they successful? Sure were, both financially and critically. But were they J.R.R. Tolkien's exact vision? Nope. And that, right there, is the main issue. And that is why they are so reluctant on selling those rights to anyone.
Yep, blasphemy, that's my middle name.
Tim, did you watch the Extended Edition versions of the LOTR films? While Tom Bambadil is still not there (just a completely ridiculous and unnecessary chacter to the narrative), many other critical scenes that fans of the novel felt were lacking are found in those versions of the films. It brings the total runtime to nearly 12 hours, but it does capture much of what's in the book, and if you watch them with the commentary, you will understand Jackson's decisions to cut or de-emphasize certain scenes.
@Anon Poster As much as I have enjoyed the last two Trek movies, and as much as I think the IP is worthy of a theme park attraction, recent box office receipts don't justify its inclusion at a Disney or Universal park. $430m worldwide is mediocre these days. The franchise, while beloved by its fans, just does not seem to capture the attention of the average Joe.
Not sure what they could do in terms of rides though, really struggling to think of anything that wouldn't just feel tacked on.
The Tolkien Estate vs Peter Jackson thing I believe it is because of money, not the the quality of the movies, I think that some years ago the sued the producers because they haven't received a penny of the profit. And I was looking at Wikipedia and New Line Cinema that was sued, not Peter Jackson.
Universal already has Harry Potter that has something of magical, fantasy and medieval, so it would be like repeating the same theme at another land, I don't know if this would be good. I also think that would be nice if Universal did something for Star Trek.
Actually, I would love to see Disney with the rights for Marvel at Disney World, since they could make great rides and a wonderful land, specially now that these movies are making lots of money and are popular among general audiences. So I hope that they make a deal with Universal soon or at least announce something for Disneyland.
I suspect that Universal would likely make a Tolkien project the centerpiece of a third gate. Not enough room at either Orlando park to do a major effort. And, they now own the land under Wet 'n Wild as well as the surrounding area.
And I absolutely agree, they did improve the source material in most places. I fully understood why the cuts were made, and why Arwen's role was increased, and all of that. It would be similar to a reader of the Song of Ice and Fire series being upset that the show does not have extravagant feast scenes, some things are just better on the page. Hell, I loved the book's version of the Entmoot, but that was unfilmable. Changes had to be made.
Though, I have to say, I have an issue with The Hobbit. It's a 300 page children's book, it does not need to be 3 3 hour movies. That's just a wee bit of overkill.
That said, you and I are not the issue. We love the movies, we love the books, we are cool with what Peter Jackson did. The Tolkien estate is the issue, and they are NOT cool with what he did. I could have cared less about Bombadil (actually, I was glad they omitted him), but the Tolkien's wanted him. I was slightly miffed that there was no Mouth of Sauron in the theatrical release (I know, he was in the 4 hour long Extended cut), but they wanted him there as he was in the book. They wanted the movies to be the books, which would have made those long movies to be much longer.
Maybe, when Christopher Tolkien dies, they will lighten up, but I doubt it. They are exceedingly protective of those books, and something like a theme park land/set of attractions would be something that they would probably fight as hard as they could. Depending on the contract, they might lose, but the fight would take a while.