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What is Universal allowed to do to Marvel Island?

Universal Orlando: What is Universal allowed to do to Marvel Island?

From Tasia P.
Posted August 10, 2012 at 11:56 AM
My friend who is a huge Marvel fan just came back from his first trip at IoA and was very disappointed about the land. He said Spiderman was awesome(of course) the Hulk is a good roller coaster but wanted to know why is Dr. Doom's Fearfall and Storm Force Acceleration still there?
I know Marvel is owned by Disney but from my understanding of reading the official agreement they basically have the rights to every character they use which is a lot because of the big mural they have. Do they have the rights outside of the U.S? Can they expand it or at least tear down Fearfall and Acceleration and make a decent ride on par with Spiderman? If Disney wanted to make a case that Universal has the rights to the comics and they have the rights to the movies who would win? I would love to see an Iron Man ride.


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Joey Till
Posted August 10, 2012 at 1:02 PM
Im just plain out confused by the deal. If Disney owns the rights, dosn't Universal half to change the names of the rides? I don't really know what to say here because I don't even know whats going on. But I agree that it would be cool to see an Iron Man ride!

From Chad H
Posted August 10, 2012 at 1:07 PM
Disney own the company that own the characters; the company before Disney's takeover licensed the rights to use those chacracters to Universal; Disney as new owner is bound by the previous contract, hence why Universal can still use the characters.

The rest, I can't tell you.

From Dominick D
Posted August 10, 2012 at 2:54 PM
When Disney bought Marvel, they let studios and theme parks keep their rights as long as they follow the contract. However, Disney bought Paramount's movie rights and got Avengers and Iron Man 3. Soon Daredevil movie rights will go to Disney unless Fox trades them Fantastic Four. As far as theme parks go, Universal isn't allowed any more Marvel rides, but they can make updates as long as its not a change like changing a storyline or adding characters.

From Tasia P.
Posted August 11, 2012 at 2:26 PM
Universal basically has all the rights to the good characters around the world anyway according to the contract I read no other theme park can use any character in the same family and they basically used a character in each of the main Marvel families. I guess we won't know until Universal decides to have an expansion once they finished building the rest of Potter. I guess Disney can use an unknown character in an unknown family and make it big because before the movie came out I didn't even know who Thor was.

From Tasia P.
Posted August 11, 2012 at 2:24 PM
@Dom so they can't tear down the 2 six flag rides to make an attraction based on another character or a new character they haven't used? They have that big ol mural like right there so technically they could use anyone of those characters.

From Sean Huckel
Posted August 11, 2012 at 2:32 PM
It's unknown, to be honest, what they can and can't do. But don't expect any more Marvel rides.

And those two rides aren't "Six Flags" rides.

From Dominick D
Posted August 11, 2012 at 3:41 PM
DC is at Six Flags...

From Carrie Hood
Posted August 12, 2012 at 3:23 AM
As far as I can recall from what the Sentinel said about the deal, Universal will keep their Marvel contract until 2050 when it was planned to run out anyway. They can't build anything new into Marvel Island but all current and "planned" attractions are fine and fall under the contract and will stay. I would guess in 2050 they would have to re-negotiate for the rights provided they don't change themes before that point anyway. They didn't say anything in regards to the Universal California Resort so I couldn't guess about that end of the deal, the pieces I know where what was published in the paper when Disney Company bought Marvel.

I would hazard to guess the other parks with Marvel characters are also still under contract also with a similar deal. Anything new would probably have to be negotiated with Disney Company. The part that gets me however is the fact that Marvel Characters don't really "Fit" into anything Disney has currently. The only possible place they could be added in would be Hollywood Studios without having to build an entirely "new" land someplace.

From Chad H
Posted August 12, 2012 at 4:45 AM
I know that the current rumours link Tommorrowland with Star Wars, but instead you could around the Stark Exhibition on the future, or whatever it was called in the movie (STARK enterprises has decided to sponsor the whole of Tommorrowland and use their expertise to help ensure it remains a shining beacon of tomorrow.

That would get at the least the Avengers in, and maybe a few others around them as well.

From Orrin Carstarphen
Posted August 12, 2012 at 7:00 AM
I would much rather see Stark Enterprises take over Future World in Epcot. That particular area is in need of a serious makeover.

From Tony Duda
Posted August 12, 2012 at 10:13 AM
Unless Disney gives Universal Orlando enough money to build a third theme park, Marvel characters will not be in Walt Disney World. Get over it. Not going to happen. 2050 is a long way away, live with it.

From Rob P
Posted August 12, 2012 at 10:30 AM
2050 ?

That's okay.......I'll only be 94 yrs old then so should be fine.

From Chad H
Posted August 12, 2012 at 10:31 AM
Rember Tony there are two sides to this; including what Universal get out of it. Are they really going to want to have what amounts to a giant billboard for a Disney IP in their park, especially when they're limited in what updates they can do to it?

It wont be until 2050, just until the area becomes more problematic to keep than to change.

From Tony Duda
Posted August 13, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Chad, yeah, cost vs. benefit always applies. But UOR will still have to get a boat load of money from Disney. UOR will not simply let Disney get it without paying. They are competitors in the entertainment/theme park business after all.

From Tim Odom
Posted August 13, 2012 at 1:02 PM
What is Universal allowed to do to the Marvel rides? Not a whole lot. From the contract (seen here) Universal has rights to the current characters that they use, and their families, in perpetuity. These rights are ONLY in the US East of the Mississippi River. However, to retain said rights, they must keep the attraction using the characters both in service AND in good repair. So, if Universal wanted to get rid of Storm Force and replace it with a cool dark ride, Disney could make a case for the rights to the X-Men reverting back to them.

The way this contract is written puts some restrictions on Universal (they cannot replace the 2 lesser Marvel attraction and cannot add any attraction at all.) But, they also love the fact that the property is, shall we say, on fire right now.

So, expect Marvel Superhero Island to remain the same until either Disney and Universal can agree to let Universal upgrade stuff there, or Disney spends an absolute ton of money to get the Marvel rights back. Either way, I don't think it would happen soon.

From Andrew Dougherty
Posted August 13, 2012 at 6:41 PM
Or if Speilberg goes back to Universal and
Universal could get enough money to buy out DC from six flags or something. But is the tech Universal uses in spiderman also in the contract that they will lose if they sell.

From Tim Odom
Posted August 14, 2012 at 8:59 AM
Six Flags would have to be willing to sell the DC rights, which could be a complicated thing. If Universal just wanted the DC rights for Florida (and Florida alone), then Six Flags might be willing to sell, assuming they have no expansion ideas for Florida.

However, if Universal wants more (say, East of the Mississippi rights, like they have with Marvel), then it gets FAR more expensive and far more unlikely. Mainly due to the fact that Six Flags has about a bajillion parks, and in every one of those parks they have a lot dedicated to the DC license. Now I know, Six Flags theming is awful, but they could argue (and correctly so) that they would have to retheme and rename dozens of rides, pretty much rebranding all of these parks. I cannot see Six Flags agreeing to this without a boat load of cash.

I cannot see any reason why Disney would spend so much cash to get the Marvel rights back from Universal, and then for Universal to spend about the same amount of cash to get DC from Six Flags, regardless of if Spielberg is involved or not. This is just way too large of a set of deals than I could possibly imagine happening between competitors.

From Tasia P.
Posted August 14, 2012 at 11:17 AM
I still think Universal could somehow get around(I really hope so Iron Man ride would be awesome) but I know Disney would put up a hard fight.
If Uni or Disney wanted DC rights in Orlando only for the Studious side or DHS I don't think it would be that hard to get. Six Flags doesn't have a park in Florida and could potentially get part of the merchandise sales to improve the parks they have. Teens in Texas and Georgia won't stop going to Six Flags because Uni or Disney got the rights to DC they would still continue going to Six Flags to hang out with friends and ride roller coasters for cheap.

From Dominick D
Posted August 14, 2012 at 11:34 AM
I doubt Universal can make any more Marvel rides. BTW, typo of the week nomination: "studious"

From Sean Huckel
Posted August 14, 2012 at 11:40 AM
Universal could make more attractions. The stipulations of the contract state that as long as they portray the characters in an acceptable light, they can build attractions.

Now, do they want to? That remains to be seen.

But Disney can't simply say "no". It would be acting against good faith with Universal, and Uni would be able to sue the mouse.

From Tim Odom
Posted August 14, 2012 at 12:56 PM
From what I know of this, Universal is kinda locked in with the amount of attractions they have right now. I might be wrong, but I think subsequent agreements (since the contract I posted undoubtedly had to be amended) stated the exact number of attractions and the characters used therein. Would love to see those, if they exist in the public sphere.

Even if Universal could add a Iron Man ride, where would they do it? The only way to add it would be to remove non-Marvel rides and attractions, since they will not remove any existing Marvel ride because the moment they do they lose the rights to that character and it's family. So, taking down Dr. Doom's Fear Fall loses Universal the entire Fantastic Four.

I think there is good and bad to this agreement. The good is, we get world class Marvel rides (well, 2 of them, Hulk and Spidey are wonderful.) The bad side is that, due to how this was written and when it was written, there really is no room for expansion or ride replacement without a subsequent agreement. I am sure Universal thought that, at the time, if they needed to expand they would just negotiate with Marvel and it would be easy. They never foresaw Disney buying them out and it getting a whole lot more complicated.

From Sean Huckel
Posted August 14, 2012 at 1:49 PM
Tim, there's room behind Spider-Man for a substantial Marvel addition.

From Dominick D
Posted August 14, 2012 at 2:38 PM
Sean, there's no room behind Spiderman. It's a road to the parking garage.

From Sean Huckel
Posted August 15, 2012 at 6:33 AM
I'm sorry, behind Doom. Either way, there's room to expand.

From Tim Odom
Posted August 15, 2012 at 8:29 AM
And how would people get to the ride? How would people actually see it? Islands of Adventure is designed with great sight lines in mind, you see all the major attractions rather easily. If they were to somehow do a Iron Man ride back there (and I highly doubt they can contractually) how would people even know it is there? Hell, one could say the Dr Doom ride is hidden (especially for a ride in this particular park), so putting something behind that is a questionable idea.

** Edit - Looking at the map, there is most certainly NOT room for a substantial attraction behind Dr. Doom. Here, I highlighted it:

That is what they have. Now, keep in mind, the building next to the Dr. Doom ride is the counter service restaurant and arcade, thus it needs to have some way to get supplies to it without the customer seeing. Essentially, there is no room back there for much of anything, and virtually no way to get people actually TO anything there. The only way to do it would be to tear down the counter service place, which might be prohibited by the contract AND would be something I am sure they would be want to avoid (food = money for them).

Please, don't get me wrong, I would absolutely love an Iron Man ride. But, to be honest, I don't see it happening for a while.

From Chad H
Posted August 15, 2012 at 8:52 AM
Sink the road a bit and/or build over the top of it. Job done.

From Sean Huckel
Posted August 15, 2012 at 10:03 AM
Tim, they're building Transformers in an area smaller than that.

Anything is possible. ;)

From Tim Odom
Posted August 15, 2012 at 10:06 AM
A couple of issues:

1 - Building on top of that service road might be possible for some rides (read coasters). But that service road has to exist, for both logistical and safety reasons.

2 - There is still no room for a pathway to get people there, nor for an entrance/station for the potential ride. You would have to take something out, and taking something out would not be on the table. The only area where there is a little room is next to Storm Force, and that is not nearly wide enough.

3 - According to the contract, are additions allowed? I maintain they are not allowed and that they are stuck with what they have. It makes sense that when plans were finalized, with the exact ride details, they specified which characters would be getting rides and which would be not.

From Sean Huckel
Posted August 15, 2012 at 10:24 AM
There is no verbiage in the agreement that specifies they cannot expand. They have the rights to basically every character at their disposal, as they have the rights to every character in the same "family" as those they already have rides and restaurants for.

Now, would they want to expand is a different story.

From Tasia P.
Posted August 15, 2012 at 12:16 PM
@Dom lol it's my stupid spell check on my laptop for some reason the spell check puts u's in words.

@Tim out of all the popular Marvel characters I think F4 could be the easiest one to let go now X-Men no I never thought of that part.

From Tim Odom
Posted August 15, 2012 at 12:34 PM
There is no verbiage in that contract. But that contract seems like it is missing a whole lot (like which specific characters/families they will be using and the number of attractions.) It would seem to me that there would have been a followup agreement when all the rest of the plans got finalized. That original contract, which lays the groundwork of the agreement, is short on specifics.

Even if they could add one, though, I am still not convinced (nor will I be) there there is remotely enough room for another ride. IoA has issues when it comes to space, especially in that corner of the park. Yes, I know, Transformers is going to a smaller area. But the type of ride Transformers is (a more vertical version of Spider-Man) allows for a smaller footprint. Do you think they would another version of that right behind Spider-Man, when there is a belief out there that these 2 parks cannot contain both Spider-Man AND Transformers (not to mention Forbidden Journey) since they are so similar? If they could put in a ride, it would have to be different from Spider-Man and Transformers, but take up a small amount of space.

The only thing off the top of my head that would fit that would be a coaster, but where would the loading station go? That area does not seem remotely big enough, especially since if they could add a new attraction, they could not close (even temporarily) any existing attraction. All existing attractions have to stay open unless it needs maintenance, which this would not be. So, what they would have to do is build a small, back of the house area into a ride without stopping operations at any other ride, and make a pathway for it (where there is limited room) and allow for the basic functions of that service road (ie, deliveries, security, medical, etc.) to not be impeded. Effectively, even if the contract allows for it, they just don't have the room unless they go vertical.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted August 15, 2012 at 12:34 PM
^^If it puts "u's" in words how come that last line doesn't say "wuords?" :)

From Tasia P.
Posted August 15, 2012 at 1:13 PM
@Mike words like movies, favorite,studios(lol) other words but I can't remember. I hate my laptop I'm about to finally upgrade to a Macbook.

From Doug Jenkins
Posted August 15, 2012 at 2:19 PM
No way Disney could ever do Marvel as well as Universal. That's not what they are about.

From Dominick D
Posted August 15, 2012 at 2:52 PM
Doug, I'm not sure it's safe to say that. Disney can do just as well.

From Tasia P.
Posted August 15, 2012 at 6:58 PM
Someone on another site said that Universal owns all of the characters in Orlando but owns the characters and their family members and villains they use worldwide. The Avengers are and always will be Marvel's hottest characters. I don't get why Disney just won't make a movie about the characters Universal doesn't own because technically they made Iron Man and Thor popular and brought.

From Carrie Hood
Posted August 16, 2012 at 12:40 AM
We're forgetting one major thing here, Universal doesn't NEED Marvel anymore in the strictest sense. They've got Harry Potter, Transformers and all the Dreamworks brands to play with. Before this point in time, it was entirely necessary to keep in Islands as it was the biggest draw. Now it's just a nice treat that could easily be replaced with another brand if Universal really wanted something bigger.

Now your all making a big deal about Marvel and DC, their popular right now but what about 20 years down the line? Superheros are the rage of the moment.. and as result everyone seems to have them. It's become nothing really special anymore (at least in my opinion). If you think about it, they go in and out of popularity about every ten-fifteen years, the bubble will burst eventually with a few bad movies then it'll be dropped for a while and fade out except for the die-hard fans.
Think about it, Batman was HUGE until "Batman and Attack of the Neon" (Batman Forever) and Batman & Robin. It died a painful death in the mid-late 90's and wasn't touched again until 2005. While I think Avengers and Marvel have a hot thing right now, it won't last forever and don't kid yourself thinking it will. One or Two bad movies and not a single one of us (except the die hard fans) will see another movie and that's not even talking about the studios. The minute they start loosing money the plug gets pulled and the water goes right down the drain.

Now on the to matter of Iron Man having a ride.. seriously I'm disappointed none of you thought of a B&M Flier! Compact one down, put a launch on that thing, weave it in and out of a building with some form of an animatronic or crazy half hologram villain.
Oh god, I've got it.
Theme is as some new Stark Creation for mass transportation, Jarvis narrates to you and the "transport" gets hacked into by (random) villain and things to wild just before launch, you launch and get a crazy ride. Tony Stark/IronMan retakes control (at a brake run) and sends you on a wild ride (with plenty of dry sarcasm included) until you "land" safely.

Yes Please, I'll take two!

From aman chatani
Posted August 16, 2012 at 9:55 AM
I would love to see the Marvel Island expand and add one or two more rides. The Storm ride is not nearly as popular as it used to be and maybe some people would like to see that space used for something better. An Iron Man ride would be interesting but also so would something like a Avengers ride which would be like a projection ride like a Spiderman or Transformers which would be great because it is one ride packed with more than one superhero.

From Dominick D
Posted August 16, 2012 at 9:56 AM
Two simulator dark rides right next to each other WON'T be a good idea.

From Tim Odom
Posted August 16, 2012 at 1:24 PM
Universal owns the East of the Mississippi rights to the characters they use and their families, that is it. They do not have worldwide rights to them (they could have had them if they used them within a certain amount of time, but that window has long since closed.) The main reason why Disney does not simply make a movie with characters not in that contract is simple: 90% of Marvel characters can be said to be in the Spider-Man, or Fantastic Four, or Avengers, or X-Men families. Basically, by choosing the characters they did, they locked down almost all of the Marvel universe. The main issue is that SO many characters have been Avengers, which would presumably add them to the Avenger family (which is very loosely defined.)

All, but the Guardians of the Galaxy. Oh, and would you look at that, a Guardians of the Galaxy movie is in development. Now, it remains questionable if a movie with a character named 'Rocket Raccoon' will be a success, but if it is, I would guess Marvel might push to add them to one of their parks. Now, if they had a certain character (Vance Astro, aka Vance Astrovik, a member of the Avengers in the comics) as one of the Guardians, that would give their rights to Universal. But, coincidence of all coincidences, they are not putting Astro in there (even though he is one of the main Guardians.)

So, while I don't expect Universal to be able to do a thing about adding more Marvel, there is a glimmer of hope that a singular Marvel franchise might go to Disney.

From Dominick D
Posted August 16, 2012 at 1:57 PM
Tim, Vance isn't being used, so GOTG can go to Disney!

From Tasia P.
Posted August 16, 2012 at 7:57 PM
@Tim I forgot about that part they had like 2 or 5 years to do it but they could have possibly change that in the final contract. All the Guardians of the Galaxy needs is an A-list cast, and the Disney marketing and it would be a hit because like I said if you didn't read comics( which most little boys don't anymore) you wouldn't have known about Iron Man or Thor until Disney made movies about them.

@Dom it couldn't work anyway since in the contract I read they couldn't have more than 1 simulator.

From Tim Odom
Posted August 17, 2012 at 8:11 AM
I tend to agree, Guardians will not use Vance (even though he really is a key member to the group) simply because Vance = Avengers. With him being left out, they might be fair game for Disney. But, come on, even with an A List cast and a great director, this is a movie that will have a talking raccoon with guns AND a walking tree. This is some really silly stuff. Seriously, I don't know if mainstream audiences will be ready to accept this. However, if it works, we could potentially see Disney use the property.

But, and this is going into movie geek territory, Iron Man and Thor were better fits for movies than the Guardians. Both of those characters have been in publication constantly since the 60's, while they were not household names they were more well known than the Guardians of the Galaxy. I collected comics and owned a store back in the day, I can honestly tell you that the Guardians of the Galaxy have a small fan base and actually got cancelled a couple times. They have a complicated history, though it seems like they simplified it recently. Will it work? I don't know. I mean, Green Lantern did not work, but that was at least partially due to a horrid script and bad casting. I hope it does, I mean Rocket Raccoon could be so much awesome. But, I am not holding my breath.

From Don Mobley
Posted August 18, 2012 at 9:27 PM
I think Universal could do away with the super hero island, they have many other characters and properties that could be used. I would love to see Universal partner with Image/AMC to bring us a Walking Dead theme attraction or two, but that is not likely to happen (they don't want to scare people away)! Can't wait for the HHN Walking Dead Haunted house!

As for the guardians of the galaxy, I think the movie will be spectacular, the newer characters are excellent (Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Drax, Starlord, and Gamora) I think the movie will do great, there are lots of fans waiting on this movie including myself! I think if disney wanted to they could create some sort of Men in Black type shoot'em up ride that takes riders into space and on some fantastic journey!

From Dominick D
Posted August 18, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Disney has enough Shoot em Ups already.

From Don Mobley
Posted August 19, 2012 at 8:48 PM
I am sure they could figure something out to fit the guardians theme, whether shootem ups or something completely different!

From aman chatani
Posted August 21, 2012 at 10:32 AM
Where Storm is there isn't much space to do much and Dr.Doom could be changed into something similar to it but better

From J. Snow
Posted September 1, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Disney cannot use any Marvel properties INSIDE a theme park. Done. This is why their 'Avengers' wrapped monorail could only run on the track between MK and TTC and not to Epcot because that would have taken the train into a theme park.

That stipulation pretty much excludes any Marvel themed attractions showing up at WDW-Inside one of the parks.

And you guys seem to forget something here. This is business, and any business loves to get giant checks from their competitors. In this case Disney is cashing licensing checks from Universal.

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