John Hughes' Chicagoland

December 22, 2014, 7:39 PM

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?

Replies (8)

December 23, 2014, 8:58 AM

Wasn't there a TV show called Chicagoland..
No to Chicago-land.

Yes to The Jack Bauer experience.... As I have mentioned here before.

Edited: December 24, 2014, 10:34 PM

Just watched Home Alone again myself... great flick. It is an even better comedy than Return of the Jedi, imho. And at least Home Alone's humor is intentional. ;p

I would love a John Hughes Land (RIP, brother, you are missed), and I think your ideas are very fun. However, I am not sure the General Public would agree and Universal is more focused on whatever is hot "right now" rather than anything from the past (Kong being the exception - but a new movie is on the way, whether we like it or not). So, we'll just have to be content with enjoying a legacy of quality films from a respected writer/director/producer who is gone but not forgotten.

December 24, 2014, 11:00 PM

I don't know, I'll take a ride simulating John Candy's "Mess Around". And the vehicle could be shaped like a bed. Just make sure those are pillows your hands are between.

December 26, 2014, 3:43 PM

I agree that Universal would be wise to spend their zillions on hot IP, but I wonder if they might see a decent return on cheaper to build experiences based on nostalgic properties. Maybe not a whole Chicagoland (though it'd be totally awesome), but a Hughes themed Chicago restaurant?
Speaking of nostalgia, I've always wondered why Universal puts their legacy simulator rides out to pasture. They could pick up a couple of inexpensive 'box' simulators like you see at larger shopping malls and charge five bucks a head to experience Back to the Future, Hanna Barbera, Jimmy Neutron... There's got to be a market for that, right?

December 28, 2014, 10:46 AM

As long as they serve a decent deep dish, I am all in!

January 15, 2015, 11:37 PM

I don't know about this

January 16, 2015, 10:43 AM

A John Hughes' land would be a homage to an obscure director whose films are not as relevant anymore. The actors in the films are mostly retired or barely working or dead. On the bright side, it couldn't be worst than Disney appropriating Tim Burton everywhere like for the Haunted Mansion on Halloween.

January 20, 2015, 9:42 AM

I'm sensing some resistance here. No biggie, back to the drawing board. Next stop, Werner Herzogville! Two distinct lands- one dedicated to fiction and the other documentaries. Anyone else feel that German directors are criminally underrepresented at Universal/DHS?


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