So my wife and I are having a glass of wine and watching Home Alone last night, and inspiration struck...
What if Universal got the theme park rights to the works of John Hughes? A loose series of films that almost entirely take place in Chicago and it's surrounding suburbs (conveniently referred to as Chicagoland in the real world city). No crazy negotiations necessary, Fox and Universal have been playing nice for some time with properties like The Simpsons.
Think about it; MANY theme parks I've visited, especially here in the US, feature a year round Christmas shop. Chicagoland would feature one that draws on such holiday classics as Home Alone, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (written by Hughes), and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.
Furthermore, with Universal's focus on themed food and beverage currently eating competitor Disney's lunch both figuratively and literally, Chicagoland opens up a myriad of possibilities. Deep dish pizza, hot dogs done properly, pierogis, Garrett's popcorn, Goose Island beer...
And now that we've outlined profit centers, the capstone would be a family-friendly dark ride on the L train that passes by several iconic Hughes' films scenes and references a fictional stop in the equally fictional Shermer, Illinois. I'm thinking projection-mapped animatronic Chevy Chase, John Candy, Molly Ringwald, etc. All culminating in a spectacular view over a meticulously miniaturized Chicago (everyone's favorite part of Peter Pan and E.T. is the city flyover, right?).
I know creating real world equivalents of very un-real places is all the rage right now, but having visited no fewer than two fake Venices (Venii?) this year (Epcot and Vegas, natch) I can tell you there's certainly a market for it. Also, the generation that sees these films as pop culture scripture has come of age and now have a couple of kids in tow. I think the appeal is clear and has the potential to bring in a whole host of non-theme park nerd types. Sportos, Motorheads, Geeks, Wastoids, Dweebies...
What do you think? A solid addition to a Universal park, or another Great Movie Ride?
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