The Karate Kid comes to Six Flags... sort of

June 8, 2010, 6:58 PM · I'd like to thank Theme Park Insider reader M. Ryan Traylor for passing along this photo, which he snapped today of the coaster train on Ninja at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Karate Kid promo on Six Flags Magic Mountain's Ninja coaster

Gonna let this one slide without comment, mostly because I couldn't possibly come up with anything more clever than what I suspect you'll offer in the comments.

Replies (24)

June 8, 2010 at 7:05 PM · Many Six Flags parks have these. New England has Karate Kid on Pandemonium and Stride gum on Flashback.
June 8, 2010 at 7:06 PM · Well, the ride is called Ninja, and the movie is 'The Karate Kid' so I think it is more appropriate advertising then placing a movie that has no relation to martial arts. But, I still think this is a bad idea.
June 8, 2010 at 7:20 PM · Well, I guess I'm somewhat surprised that it's taken a theme park this long before giving in to advertising.
June 8, 2010 at 7:22 PM · I gotta say, the train skin is a little ridiculous. Especially since there are banners over the entrance sign and all throughout the queue. I just wonder how many people that don't make the climb up the hill for the coaster see the train whizzing pass Arrowhead Splashdown and read the advertising.
June 8, 2010 at 7:23 PM · I truly despise this choice by Six Flags. As if the parks were not bad enough, they pull this stunt. It is really sad when you see the pink Stride gum wrap on El Toro. :(
June 8, 2010 at 7:26 PM · I think this is horrible. I pay to go an amusement park; not to have to look at movie posters junking up my park experience.
June 8, 2010 at 7:28 PM · this new karate kid movie is an abomination. I like jackie chan, but i know pat morita and ralph machio are going to be rolling over in their graves(i know machio is still alive, but his career is dead.)If little jaden's acting is as hammy and smarmy as his dad's, then we are all in for a mind numbing experience. I will not be seeing this movie in a theater and i implore all fans of the original and its better than average sequel to do the same. Hollywood needs to be tought not to mess with true 80's classics. What abhorrent remake will be next? pretty in pink staring miley cyrus? farris bueller staring shia lebeuf? The success of this movie will open a pandora's box of crappy 80's classic reimaginings. I will step off the soap box now but dont think i wont be right back up here if i feel it necessary.



June 8, 2010 at 7:39 PM · I go for the attractions, not what they look like as far as coloring, advertising, etc. Sounds like a lot of people are ticked about this but for me personal, if it's not changing the ride I guess I don't understand why people are upset.

Did the movie/gum companies pay for the advertisement? Perhaps they'll use some of that money to put back into the parks?

I guess I just don't understand what the big deal is.

June 8, 2010 at 7:53 PM · Can you imagine if the elevator doors in Disney's Tower of Terror closed to reveal an ad telling you to watch Toy Story 3?

Or if the seat in front of you in Seaworld's Manta had a little poster showing food from Red Lobster?

Or little stickers advertising Jolly Green Giant spinach at the center of Popeye's barge at Islands of Adventure.

Ugh. nonononono!!!!

June 8, 2010 at 8:09 PM · Let's not forget that Disney did wrap a WDW monorail in a big ad for the new Tron flick.

That said, Disney used a Light Cycle image on the side of the monorail, which I thought less intrusive than the straight-up billboard SFMM's put on the Ninja cars. I don't have a problem with cross-promotion in theme parks. But I do have a problem with uninspired design. This promo could have been executed in a more creative, and engaging, way.

So far, the crack about Ralph Macchio rolling over in his career's grave is winning for best snarky comment so far. C'mon, folks, surely someone can top that. Didn't I just write something about being creative and engaging? ;-)

June 8, 2010 at 8:10 PM · Another attempt for them to get a running start coming out of bankruptcy. I really hate it. I didn't pay that money at the entrance to have these things jammed down my throat.
June 8, 2010 at 9:22 PM · We were there last week and the ads absolutely cover the park, in a bad way. Posters in queue lines, on ride vehicles, trailers playing in monitors including the new huge one by the big fountain at the entrance... At first, it seemed like they were just in the area around Ninja, Tatsu, and other "Asian" type parts of the park, but then, they were popping up everywhere. Far too much promotion for one sleeper movie remake.
The funny part was a full movie poster in the line for Tatsu, naming the list of producers - Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and probably a few others in the family that I missed when the line started to move.
Sad thing is, Jaden seems to actually have some talent. The shameless promotion cheapens it.
June 8, 2010 at 9:30 PM · Another thing - The whole Karate Kid thing was bad enough in the '80's.
June 8, 2010 at 9:33 PM · Its also on the Whizzer at Six Flags Great America. Doesn't make much sense there either!

But Alex is right! They are trying to make a couple of bucks! They need the money of course!

June 8, 2010 at 11:15 PM · I have no problem with this movie as the trailers actually look good to me. I can't agree with people that say to boycott it. I have no problem with Remakes as long as they're done well. Magnificent Seven, Vanilla Sky, Fistful of Dollars, Italian Job, The Thing, Casino Royale, etc.

That being said, I think it's pretty ridiculous to market this movie on Ninja. But even then the design of the skin is pretty generic. Coulda been better basically.

June 9, 2010 at 8:10 AM · They've done it with other coasters around the country too. I get why they are doing it. Money is tight these days, and they need to make more. Selling "space" on a ride that a million people ride every year is indeed one way to generate revenue. Some people might not care that the trains look ridiculous with all the promotional stuff on them, and Six Flags is indeed getting attention for doing it.

As a business guy, I understand their motivation to make money, especially if they can do it without further taxing the customers wallet. I get that they want to appeal to more sponsors, and find ways to offer up more advertising space. In this case, plastering advertisements all over the coaster cars just smells a little of corporate sellout. I prefer organically growing the business by expanding attraction, food, and gift offerings, and promoting and maintaining brands, rather than dotting the parks atmosphere with intrusive advertising. Yes, sponsors and ad revenue is good. What comes into question is the way they promote them. It's almost as if the park is willing to divert attention away from their attraction and it's brand for the sake of ad revenue. That's where my philosophy differs.

Designing and presenting a park isn't just about the attractions or even the themes, it's also about psychology. Theme/amusement parks are all about escape, and everything down to the smallest detail should be designed and presented to generate a positive response from people. In a park, people should be removed as completely as possible from the outside world, which includes keeping out or disguising those things that they see every day during their drive to and gum advertisements. They should be drawn into attractions, either by themes, music, or the design of the train/queue house, and not be distracted from it. People are bombarded with sales pitches and advertisements every day, and they don't really like it at all. Now instead of riders being focused on the anticipation and thrill of boarding a Six Flags roller coaster, they are now looking at a giant commercial pulling into the station, and are now distracted from what they should be feeling. The ad has certainly done it's job, but at the expense of the complete visceral roller coaster experience. The same could be said for the whole park if intrusive advertising is being used.

People might not completely get what I'm talking about, but I've said it before and I'll say it again. The greatest, most successful parks and attractions in history were designed by or ran by people who were entertainers at heart. They also had business sense, or a partner that had business sense, but it was always about the integrity of the product. Money isn't the only focus at the end of the day for those kind of people. For that very reason, their operations will be successful, provided they are smart with money or employ people that are wise with money. Running a park with a corporate/profit maximizing mentality is a disaster waiting to happen, and if Six Flags continues in this manner, they'll be right back in bankruptcy court in a few years.

Complete escapism equals revenue and profit (see Disney World). If you can create that environment, most people will either gladly or unconsciously pay to get in, buy things while they are there, and leave only wanting to come back. In the case of the Karate Kid coaster and all the other advertising coasters, the integrity of the attraction is diminished, and they are helping to prevent their customers from achieving that complete escapism. Reading some of the comments above, it seems my opinion is not unfounded. Not the wisest of precedents to set in my opinion, because people are reacting negatively to it.

BTW, I think that the real Mr. Miyagi...aka Pat Morita (God rest his soul) is spinning in his grave right about now. Hollywood has been trying to remake these massive box office hits from years ago for a few years now, and I'm not sure I can recall a recent one that even holds a candle to the original.

June 9, 2010 at 8:30 AM · Honestly, it makes me want to see the movie less, but I still will ride the coaster!
June 9, 2010 at 8:42 AM · Robert,

On your point of the "Tronorail" it is Disney's movie and it is outside the parks itself. So it's not as bad in my eye as this. If they want to advertise, just put some A-frames or banners. It makes me sad that Six Flags is stooping to this level. Anything for a quick buck I suppose.

June 9, 2010 at 11:57 AM · Again, I guess I don't get what all the hoopla is all about. It's basically a sticker or painting on the front of the car that I'm really not paying attention to.

I've heard a lot of talk and people being unhappy with the changes they made to the actual roller coaster at Kings Dominion. That I could see being upset about if it changes the ride design/experience. I've never much paid attention to the color of the cars, etc.

June 9, 2010 at 12:32 PM · The ad color scheme makes the carts seem old and dilapidated. Guess they forgot to wax on, wax off.
June 9, 2010 at 12:55 PM · Again, I don't understand the hatred towards a remake when there have been great remakes/ reboots in Hollywood. For every "Day the Earth Stood Still", there's a "Star Trek"... "I Am Legend", there's "Dawn of the Dead"... or something lame like "King Kong" or "G.I. Joe", there's something good like "Get Smart" or "Dark Knight".

Hollywood has been doing remakes forever... it's just that there's more to work with now than there ever was. In the 40's, only about 2000 movies were around in the US. By now, there's over 30,000 movies in history released in the US. Original movies are there, but have to be found.

Is Lord of the Rings a lesser movie trilogy because it's based on a book? I say no. It's an adaptation, but I think that's similar to what a reboot is... a newer adaptation of older works of art/film/books, etc.

Two bad movies, Point Break and Fast & The Furious, are almost the same movie, but I like Point Break better, not because it was first, but I just find that it's just a ridiculous and cheezy movie while FatF tries too hard to be cool.

I'm not saying that this will be comparable to the Dark Knight, but this Karate Kid isn't a scene for scene remake. And how much money a movie makes isn't always an indicator of quality... yeah I'm talking to you Spider-Man 3, Indiana Jones 4, and Transformers 1 & 2.

But from what has been presented so far, I'm ok with it. Not loving it, but I'll still watch the movie.

June 9, 2010 at 12:57 PM · But I will agree that this kind of advertising on a ride is a heartless way to add to a park... it doesn't fit with the theme, and reeks of $ only. Six Flags doesn't seem to be a company that wants to be more than just about $.
June 9, 2010 at 5:46 PM · I didn't notice any ads on El Toro on Easter Sunday when I got 90 rides on the darn thing. But if there's ads on my Bull now, maybe I should be GLAD I haven't been to Great Adventure since.

I like Joshua's "wax on, wax off" bit the best.

June 12, 2010 at 1:07 PM · At SFOG, Ninja has Axe twist ads, Mindbender has Stride Gum, and GA scorcher has a Georgia Natural Gas Sticker. The first two are hideous, but the GNG trains are really nice, a new blue paint Job for the trains(which was needed). the GNG logo is small on the train, but banners fill up the queue and station. At least the sponsor matches the theme in this case. still sad to see though

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