King Kong is coming back to theaters, as it comes back to Universal Orlando

July 27, 2014, 9:26 PM · One of the many announcements at this weekend's Comic-Con in San Diego confirmed Universal's release of a new King Kong movie for 2016, Skull Island.

Skull Island
Promotion image courtesy Legendary Entertainment

How much more interesting that announcement becomes when one remembers that Universal Orlando is now building a (not yet announced) King Kong attraction at Islands of Adventure?

Could we have a rare case of movie/theme park synergy happening here, with King Kong returning to theaters and to Universal Orlando both in 2016? While we typically think of movie-themed attractions lagging the films that inspired them by many years, that's not always been the case. Disney debuted "It's Tough to Be a Bug" at Disney's Animal Kingdom seven months before the Pixar film A Bug's Life hit theaters. And the "Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage" show at what's now Disney's Hollywood Studios bowed on the same day as the now-classic Disney animated film.

Skull Island, to be produced by new Universal partner Legendary Entertainment, is slated for a November 4, 2016 release, meaning that the new attraction could beat the movie to opening if Universal Orlando completes construction within the next two years. Universal is building its new project between Toon Lagoon and Jurassic Park, creating an interesting thematic transition on the Jurassic Park side, as Skull Island is home to dinosaurs as well as Kong.

If you noted that we wrote about Kong "returning" to Universal Orlando earlier in this post, the "Kongfrontation" attraction ran from the opening of Universal Studios Florida in 1990 until 2002, when it closed to make way for Revenge of the Mummy. A dark ride with an animatronic Kong, the ride was based on the original King Kong Encounter at Universal Studios Hollywood, which featured a 30-foot-tall animatronic Kong designed by Disney Legend Bob Gurr. After Hollywood's Kong encounter burned during the 2008 backlot fire, the Hollywood park replaced it with the current King Kong 360/3-D on its Studio Tour attraction.

Now much will Universal Orlando's new ride draw from its classic Kong attractions, and how much will it draw from the new Skull Island? We will let you know the details when we learn the answer.

Replies (12)

July 28, 2014 at 3:43 AM · i hope it is a new Skull island attraction and not just a copy of of the 360 in california
July 28, 2014 at 12:10 PM · Color me excited! I hope the new attraction has a bit of the best elements of Kong 360 and Kongfrontation! Especially a giant King Kong AA and big dinosaurs. I think I'm more excited about this than anything at UOR in the last few years. Bring on the Kong!!!
July 28, 2014 at 6:14 AM · Whilst the new land and attraction gets me very excited I really hope the new Kong film is better than the last one. Much as I love Peter Jackson his King Kong was an over-wrought bloated monster of a film and not one that inspires much love or admiration.

Fingers crossed.....

July 28, 2014 at 6:17 AM · Since everyone is rushing to build cinematic universes like the Marvel/"Avengers" proven model, expect Legendary to also jump in that game. They also own the rights to Godzilla, and made an announcement at Comic Con that the "Godzilla" sequel would feature Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah. I wouldn't be surprised at all if the follow up to "Skull Island" and "Godzilla 2" was a new version of "King Kong VS Godzilla." The only problem they'll have to work out is that in these new films, Godzilla is much bigger than he was in the 1960's. He would tower over tiny little Kong!
July 28, 2014 at 6:59 AM · I hope that Islands gets a new Jurassic World attraction and Kong takes over Disaster at the studios. They could theme it to New York and the 8th wonder of the world scene.

I'm not happy about them squeezing out Jurassic Park on both sides. I think Kong fits better in the studios and in the big city. A giant ape fighting Dino's is stupid. What's next Optimus Prime riding a T-Rex fighting Kong.

July 28, 2014 at 8:51 AM · Just in time after another Planet of the Apes, Transformers, and Godzilla sequels. This is a bit tiring. I didn't think the King Kong remake was any good. It was embarrassingly bad. Nonetheless, the King Kong attraction at USH was quite good.
July 28, 2014 at 9:14 AM · Not excited about another Kong movie or this expansion, other than it is something new at the park. I still think Universal should have stuck with Jurassic Park, especially with a new film arriving in 2015.

Regardless, I thought Comcast was adding something new every year for the next few years, but if we're not expecting this expansion until 2016, what is slated for 2015?

July 28, 2014 at 2:10 PM · LOVED PETER JACKSONS KING KONG. for me it was the definitive version. Never really enjoyed the older ones but Jackscons, i loved, and have watched the extended version several times now.

Such a fun movie

July 28, 2014 at 2:39 PM · In terms of the movie, the trades are reporting the movie "Skull Island" isn't specifically a king kong sequel or reboot, so while kong will obviously appear, the link between this & Jackson's film isn't crystal clear.

That being said, it sounds like there's going to me more than enough creatures & mysteries in this new movie to be companion pieces or to be incorporated in the new kong attraction.

In terms of shared universe, Universal is actually planning one for their monster brand, starting with a new version of the mummy.

July 29, 2014 at 12:39 PM · Kong will likely open in 2015, spun as him coming home for the 25th Anniversary of the Park.

All the chatter points to the big projects for 2015 being Kong and KidZone revamp.

But who knows with Universal, other than that they'll build something big and build it fast?

July 30, 2014 at 6:57 PM · I'm flabbergasted!!! My family and I are always at Univeral (both parks), I would LOVE for them to make a new King Kong ride! As much as I love the mummy ride, I do miss the King Kong ride even more.
August 1, 2014 at 7:10 AM · The king kong ride was pretty good but i like the mummy a lot more.
the film wasnt all that bad either.

They should do a monsters island area instead and have Kong, dinosaurs and Godzilla! that would have been awesome.

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