Written by Russell Meyer
Published: November 22, 2004 at 12:54 PM
Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney have collaborated for another #1 movie this week with National Treasure, taking in an estimated $35.3 million. I am particularly surprised that this haphazard take on Indiana Jones was able to top a box office loaded with lots of family friendly movies like Spongebob Squarepants ($33.5 million), The Incredibles ($26.8 million), and Polar Express ($15.2 million). The opening for National Treasure is nothing spectacular, and will probably fade quickly with much better “adult” fare on the horizon led by Oliver Stone’s Alexander opening Wednesday. Do people not read movie reviews anymore? Disney has been on a good run in November thanks to The Incredibles and this strong opening from National Treasure, but the movie division will have a hard time catching up to last year’s record total, despite some moderate success from The Village and Princess Diaries 2. With no more releases scheduled for the year, Disney will have to rely on the strength of National Treasure and The Incredibles to try to break the $500 million mark. They’ll probably make it, but it has to be considered a disappointing year after last year’s $1+ billion haul.
IAAPA Makes the “Nation’s Newspaper”
Surprisingly, a small article about IAAPA managed to squeak into USAToday on Thursday. While not a very substantial article, it does make reference to Legoland California’s announcement of the installation of the nation’s first RoboCoaster. While USAToday specializes in “fluff” news, it rarely gives the amusement industry even a glance, despite the paper having a Friday Travel section. The article also references some other minor debuts at IAAPA such as “exploding ice cream,” “foam effects,” and “debit card/wristbands.” I’m not going to hold my breath for the next story cracking the headlines of the “Nation’s Newspaper.”
IAAPA was yet another well-attended and successful exhibition of theme park technology, invention, and innovation. The convention had an estimated attendance of 27,556, but while there were very few “new” ideas presented at the exhibition, there were a number of concepts that were back, and may be potential attraction concepts in the years to come. As mentioned in the USAToday story, the RoboCoaster will make its U.S. debut in Legoland in Carlsbad, CA. The RoboCoaster people also introduced their G2 concept. The concept actually mounts the robotic arm onto an actual coaster track. While this may sound fun, I am skeptical that this particular application of the RoboCoaster concept can work (controlling forces and consistent operation are 2 potential problems that would come to mind).
Another interesting concept at IAAPA was the launching motorbike coaster concept. While the capacity of this particular ride would be really low, the ride looks like a lot of fun, despite an awkward looking restraint system. Vekoma showed off an interesting dark ride concept, called Pandora’s Box. The dark ride system mounts riders to hydraulic arms that can raise or lower guests through scenes as they progress around through the attraction. What makes this system so innovative is its ability to launch or plunge riders between scenes on pistons like a drop ride. Think of it as a cross between Tower of Terror and Spiderman.
A number of awards were also presented to IAAPA participants. Sally Corp. won the Image Award for Best Exhibit, and ProSlide Technology won the Impact Award for Best New Product.
What is interesting is that one of the biggest stories coming out of IAAPA 2004 is that next year’s exhibition will not be held in Orlando, FL. Next year, the exhibition will be in Atlanta, GA. That’s right, Hotlanta will be home to next year’s IAAPA festivities, with its massive array of 7 amusement parks in the state. I don’t know who made this intelligent decision, but I think that just about any other city would be a better home to the industry’s biggest event.
Walt Disney World