Vote of the Week: Which is Universal's Better Bet, King Kong or Fast & Furious?

April 10, 2015, 10:19 AM · Universal Studios is building major projects on both coasts that will debut sometime in the next year. The next project up will be Hollywood's "Fast and Furious - Supercharged" encounter on the park's Studio Tour. This 4D adventure will put Universal Studios Hollywood's iconic tour trams in the middle of a street chase through downtown Los Angeles, with several stars from Universal's Fast & Furious franchise in the mix.

Sometime after that, Universal Orlando will open its still-officially-unannounced (?!) King Kong ride. Offering a mix of Universal's previous Kong-themed attractions, with wrap-around 3D screens and massive animatronics, this new Kong will take riders to Skull Island for another epic adventure with the greatest of all apes.

At this point, Universal's established a strong formula for its top-line attractions: mix practical sets and effects with 3D screens depicting the work of A-list talent performing in new scenes filmed just for the attraction, which is envisioned and created with the assistance of the filmmakers behind the franchise upon which the attraction is based.

Fast & Furious and Kong will be no different. In fact, the biggest difference between the two attractions, beside their locations across the country from one another, will be their franchises. Fast & Furious or Kong: Which one do you think delivers the better potential for the Universal theme parks?

Let's break this down. Kong's been around for more than 80 years and proven itself an enduring franchise for Universal, while Fast & Furious burst onto the scene within the past decade. Kong takes us to the fantastic and remote natural environment of Skull Island, while Fast & Furious takes us to iconic urban settings around the world. Kong's appeal spans generations, and while Fast & Furious's core audience skews younger, it might be the most racially, ethnically and gender-diverse of all the major action franchises.

Ultimately, though, both franchises appeal through action, whether it's Kong battling dinosaurs or exotic cars performing incredible stunts. But which franchise's action translates best to a theme park environment? You can see either franchise's classic moments on the big screen in your local theater. Which one has the potential to deliver action on a scale that will convince you to book a trip to one of the Universal theme parks to experience it?

That's our Vote of the Week.

What do you think of these franchises and their theme park potential? Tell us, in the comments.

Replies (27)

April 10, 2015 at 10:44 AM · For me, it's Kong, without a doubt. I know F&F has a huge fanbase, but it has never really appealed to me. I missed out on experiencing the original Kong attraction, so the thought of being transported to Skull Island and coming face to face with the great ape himself, has me completely pumped!
April 10, 2015 at 11:04 AM · That’s an Interesting question. Regardless of demographics, I think just about everybody grows up aware of King Kong. It may not be something everybody has gone to a theater to see, but I’d bet 98% of people who visit theme parks would be able to answer the question, “What/Who is King Kong”. I don’t feel the same way about The Fast and the Furious. I’ve no doubt the attraction will be amazing, I just wonder if it will be different enough from the existing King Kong experience on USH’s Tram Tour to make it stand out as a specific IP or will people who have never seen one of the seven films just think it’s an exciting high speed chase through downtown LA(?).
I do think it’s fantastic that UO is getting a new Kong attraction. The Kong section of the parking structure will have a purpose once again.
April 10, 2015 at 11:05 AM · Robert, any idea on a timeline for the Kong opening? Any guesses?
April 10, 2015 at 11:30 AM · While I'm sure dinosaurs and giant apes may sell well, it's cars that rake in the money. Just ask Disney why they chose Cars over the Incredibles or Up for DCA. Plus, $500 million at the box office in a week is no small thing.
April 10, 2015 at 11:34 AM · Fast & Furious is much more enticing than Kong. It would be better if Universal could introduce a ride that uses the actual cars than merely using screens. King Kong relies on relics of the past like native savages and animal exhibits. The idea that people will pay vast sums to see a giant ape just doesn't occur in the world of environmentalists and PETA. The few that are left are running to the exits.
April 10, 2015 at 11:45 AM · Fast and Furious is better for a theme park. The last king kong movie was in 2005, and will seem incredibly dated to the kids coming to theme parks, if they remember it at all. Fast and Furious having seven movies will be far more memorable to the demographic that universal is appealing to.
April 10, 2015 at 11:50 AM · I'm a big fan of all the Universal classics, so I'm VERY excited about Kong. And I love it's placement right next to Jurassic Park....why not go all out and make it a mash-up?

Seriously, I just think Kong has the more enduring legacy and will make a great attraction. I'm sure the F&F thing will be exciting too, but as I've never seen the movies, nor do I have any intention to do so, I wouldn't get that much out of it..... Sort of like Transformers is for me -- fun ride, meh IP.

April 10, 2015 at 12:12 PM · Both franchises have excellent theme park potential as attractions. That being said, I give the nod to Kong. From what I'm reading, the overall Kong attraction with its mix of AA's, screens, indoor & outdoor scenes, and new tech trackless vehicles several notches above Pooh at TDR, not to count it's timeless appeal & past theme park history, is going to result in one of the all time great theme park classic attractions. Never underestimate the power of Kong.
April 10, 2015 at 12:49 PM · Possibly with the new Skull Island movie in the works will add to the new Kong attraction.
April 10, 2015 at 1:01 PM · I think it ridiculous to think that anyone can speed through the streets of downtown L.A. Completely implausible!
April 10, 2015 at 2:16 PM · I can't wait to ride King Kong at Universal Studios Orlando!
April 10, 2015 at 2:57 PM · I have to go with Kong, but only because of the type of attraction they're building. The Fast and Furious isn't all that interesting as a passive experience in a theme park. Guests want to feel the speed, not just watch a giant video with cars spinning all around them. If Universal were to go all out and build something that borrows elements from Test Drive and Radiator Springs Racers, they might have something gold. Riders want to BE Dominic Toretto, not WATCH Dominic Toretto (at least in a theme park).

As far as a tram tour type of attraction, visiting Skull Island will be much more interesting than visiting an urban city.

April 10, 2015 at 4:38 PM · At the moment, Fast & Furious. That franchise is at an all time high at the moment. However, with the death of Paul Walker and retirement of his character, I'm doubtful the series will continue to maintain its popularity in future installments. Meanwhile, King Kong is a classic that has proven it can endure for decades, so for long-term success I'd say King Kong is the better option. Overall, I'm going with King Kong.
April 10, 2015 at 7:05 PM · From a story standpoint I'm much more interested in a Kong attraction. However, I'm having visions of the old Disney Tron speed tunnel. If Uni can make it look like I'm speeding down the road at 100 MPH in a glamour tram, I am so there.
April 11, 2015 at 10:36 AM · Neither franchise inspires me to plan a theme park trip, but since Kong has longevity on his side I'll go with the big fella.
April 11, 2015 at 11:20 AM · My vote has to go to whichever franchise would be more visually spectacular and thrilling, and offers an experience I cannot find anywhere else in my day-to-day life. And for that, there's no contest. The speeding cars of Fast & Furious may be fun to watch, but they're nothing compared to a fifty foot tall monkey fighting giant lizards.
April 11, 2015 at 12:26 PM · Kong offers a much more unique and versatile landscape, while Fast and Furious is just another in city explosive environment similar to Transformers and Spiderman. Kong will offer a (somewhat) more versatile experience to these rides.

Not to mention, Kong allows for a spectacular area to be built- Skull Island. Whereas FF is just another city.

Vote for Kong.

April 11, 2015 at 4:27 PM · Now, I have my personal reservations about Universal making even more motion-based attractions while Disney is experimenting with all types of attractions; that being said, I have no doubt that both rides will be great. Fast & Furious has speeding cars and explosions, and King Kong has dark jungles and and prehistoric monsters!

However, I'm definitely more excited for Kong, and for 3 reasons:

1-it gives me a small hope that Universal will bring back some of it's older attractions, like Jaws or BTTF.

2-Kong will also use practical effects and not just screens, which from my understanding is what Fast and Furious is gonna do.

3-the hopes of seeing a huge AA of the ride's namesake face-to-face! I remember when I went on the old Kong ride for the first time...that Kong AA was incredible. Never before had I seen something so terrifying...yet so...awe-inspiring. If the AA for the new ride gives me that same feeling, they can take all my money!!!

April 11, 2015 at 9:17 PM · It would be cool if Universal timed the attraction opening to the upcoming release of the Kong prequel Skull Island. A great synergistic way to reboot that franchise. I love the placement of it, near Jurassic Park. Makes you remember that dinosaurs were on Skull Island.
April 12, 2015 at 11:43 AM · Maybe my problem with these polls is that I try to answer Robert's exact question.

"Which do you think will be a better franchise for Universal's theme parks?"

While I believe King Kong is the better "franchise", Fast & Furious is the "better franchise for Universal's theme parks". F&F franchise is perfect for getting lots and lots of Universal's key demographic into the PARKS and spending lots and lots of money. King Kong's devoted fans are older and less inclined to dump tons of money on KK items unlike F&F fans spending their money.

April 12, 2015 at 3:26 PM · King kong has to get it.. i mean he is the KING just ask him.... besides my money is on kong for a smackdown with the rock... (he may be big but he aint that pretty :) )

seriously though i think to make the fast and the furious more exciting and a better attraction they should follow the "live" approach and have a fast and the furious stunt show like Disney, WB Movie World... less star power but far more real...

April 12, 2015 at 10:39 PM · Fast and Furious. No doubt in my mind. I think Kong will inspire more visitors to USO in this readership as most seem to be based back east. However, although I personally have little to no interest in the movies (except I'm a big Rock fan...though I'm more inclined to see The Tooth Fairy than FnF) that series HAS released seven hit movies in a decade or so. Let's see...what other movie franchise has done that recently...and coincidentally, also has lands at several Uni parks? Yep. And you're going to dun a movie because another came out last century? Doesn't make sense, especially with (at least) three more coming out. And regardless of the movies, might I mention "Waterworld"?

I seem to be unable to log in from this location. Mark Kausch

April 13, 2015 at 8:13 AM · The box office for F&F 7 is no lie.

Domestic: $252,522,000 31.5%
+ Foreign: $548,000,000 68.5%
= Worldwide: $800,522,000

This on the second weekend.

April 13, 2015 at 6:58 PM · King Kong! I don't see hoe furious has staying power, but I could be wrong.
April 14, 2015 at 3:48 PM · Just thought all of you should know that I'm in Universal's "target demographic" and I prefer King Kong over Fast & Furious!
April 15, 2015 at 6:42 PM · No contest. Kong has the potential to be a major, jaw dropping ride. F & F will just be a 3D add on to the studio tour.
Just look at how long it's taking to build Kong; they started construction last year, and the ride is only opening next year. The box office of the Furious franchise doesn't matter a damn; the question is which one can make the most amazing theme park experience. The answer is obvious: KONG!!!

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