Who is winning the big game between Disney and Universal franchises?

February 5, 2018, 11:05 AM · Disney and Universal both dropped new trailers for some of their top franchises during the Super Bowl last night. Universal served another Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom trailer, while Disney promoted Avengers: Infinity War and teased Solo: A Star Wars Story before dropping a full trailer on its ABC network this morning.

Let's take a (or another) look:

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom - Official Trailer #2:

Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War - Big Game Spot:

Solo: A Star Wars Story Official Teaser

Frankly, I don't know what to think about trailers anymore. For major studio franchises, they no longer have to serve as introductions to a film. They're now pretty just hype videos, especially the trailer for Infinity War, which just ought to be called Marvel: All-Stars at this point.

Perhaps that fatigue with franchise hype videos is why I found the Solo trailer most compelling of the lot, as it actually did call back to that traditional function of trailers as an introduction to a new story, even if it does feature some very familiar characters and themes. But we are here to talk about theme parks, so let's consider that angle.

Each of these franchises is well represented in Disney and Universal theme parks (and with Marvel, across both!). We know what Disney is doing next with Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. But Disney's only vaguely teased its plans for Marvel in California, and its Orlando plans are limited by Universal's rights to so many of Marvel's core characters. And it's been ages since Universal did anything fresh with Jurassic Park, as evidenced by the fact that its lands are still called "Jurassic Park" and not Jurassic World.

The development of theme park attractions almost always lags the movies, so perhaps the films can give us a better sense of the direction in which a company is taking the franchise than just watching theme parks can. So... what do you think about these trailers? And what do you think about the state of these franchises... in theaters, in theme parks, and beyond?

Replies (27)

February 5, 2018 at 11:34 AM · As someone who has never seen a Star Wars movie, it still has my vote. I saw Jurassic World in theatres, but I think the reason that movie did so well at the box office was because it was the 1st in a generation for a franchise that had only been through one previous cycle. It benefited from both nostalgia and curiosity in a way that subsequent releases will not. I'm not as optimistic on that franchise's future (relative to the others) and I think Universal is smart to play it a bit conservative with that franchise in their parks. My excitement for Marvel is just held back by the fact that I know there will never be a new world class theme park attraction built on the east coast.
February 5, 2018 at 11:37 AM · How come there isn't a choice for 'Dark Universe'?


February 5, 2018 at 11:45 AM · Oh, so that was what that black screen in the middle of the game was promoting!
February 5, 2018 at 12:04 PM · I think they're all getting pretty tired at this point. Last Jedi was a great stand alone movie but pretty off when taken in context of the saga. Jurassic Park went the wrong way long ago by ignoring what dinosaurs were really like and instead making them into ravaging monsters. I would have been far more interested in a Boba Fett film instead of recasting such an iconic character like Solo.
February 5, 2018 at 12:19 PM · These films are getting to be like the Fast and Furious franchise... nice for fans but forgettable for a whole lot of audiences. I wish they would take a few years to build tension for Marvel and Star Wars films again, as they no longer feel like event films.
February 5, 2018 at 1:15 PM · In the context of the movies, I'm most excited for Marvel. In my opinion, Phase Three has been the best of the MCU so far. I've enjoyed every film that has come out in the past couple years, and both Black Panther and Infinity War look great. Conversely, I've liked each of Disney's Star Wars films less than the previous one, and I just can't get excited about Solo. I'll still go see it, but The Last Jedi didn't inspire confidence that Disney will stick to what Star Wars should be.

Within the context of the theme parks, the opposite is actually true. I'm very excited about Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, and I think that could redefine what is possible within a theme park. On the other hand, while I'm interested in Marvel attractions, it doesn't have quite the same appeal since Marvel is a lot more about the characters than about the story and setting, making it a bit more difficult to create a compelling themed environment that can tie together several different attractions. I have no doubt Disney will do an excellent job, but especially if Phase Three is the end of multiple major characters a land that opens several years later may be a bit too late to capitalize on the appeal.

As for Jurassic Park/World, with the exception of the first film they are little more than fun popcorn flicks. Given the immense library of IP at their disposal, I find it highly unlikely Universal will dump a bunch of money into a franchise that could very easily turn south.

February 5, 2018 at 1:27 PM · While the ‘Dark Universe’ has repeatedly stumbled at the box office, it has the potential to KICK ASS as an immersive themed land that, wait for it, opens at dusk. Universal Creative knows it can be a real winner, but the repeated box office set backs have Comcast gun shy.

So where did the idea come from?

With so many WDI Imagineers now at UC, borrowing the Disney Villians night time themed land was bound to happen.

Meanwhile, the that and thought is trying

February 5, 2018 at 1:55 PM · I voted Marvel. I enjoy both Star Wars and Jurassic Park/World, but both have had some missteps film-wise. The MCU has a pretty clean record so far.
February 5, 2018 at 2:04 PM · I am excited about none of these. I am actually pretty tired of all of these franchises. I hope to see something original soon.
February 5, 2018 at 2:06 PM · Marvel is still going strong 10 years in. Advance ticket sales put Black Panther to be one of their biggest grossershighest grossers.

Star Wars came out strong with Force Awakens but looks like it’s suffering the same fate as the DC movies: trying to rush a lot of of movies out to recreate the Marvel shared universe but with mixed fan reaction and shrinking grosses.

Jurassic World was a big hit so the sequel might be bigger (think Pirates or Transformers) or quickly forgotten (remember Narnia had movies?)

February 5, 2018 at 3:02 PM · Jurassic Park has limited attractions besides the water ride at Universal parks. They added a roller coaster at Japan. Orlando has the touring ride that doesn't always work. Maybe they should consider another huge ride, but the use of Dinosaurs in the Kong attraction removed the opportunity for more dinosaur rides.

Disney succeeds by spinning off new franchises off Star Wars and Marvel though I have no interest in seeing Solo or the Black Panther in the theaters. I given up on Star Wars with how badly they handled it. Marvel is still a good product. I'm looking forward to Infinity Wars. The next big thing has to be a BIG Avengers Infinity ride or forgettabout it.

February 5, 2018 at 2:57 PM · I think it's hard to be excited for Marvel's future right now. Phase 3 is coming to a conclusion, and Kevin Fiege has stated that Infinity War Part 2 would be the end of the MCU as we've known it. Where Marvel goes beyond Phase 3 is a complete mystery. Certainly, they have a strong track record, but it's unclear what Marvel will do now that they have the X-Men and Fantastic 4 back under their control following the Disney acquisition of Fox, along with the completely unknown future for Spiderman, which is still under Sony/Columbia's control. I'm concerned that if Disney spends big bucks on theme park attractions based on the current MCU that by the time they are finished, the way those characters are portrayed on film may be completely different. Committing limited resources to overlay an existing attraction is no big deal, but spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a new attraction could ultimately lead to failure if Marvel pivots dramatically at the end of the current MCU.

I'm far more intrigued by the future of Star Wars. JJ Abrams pulled the wool over everyone's eyes by essentially making a shot for shot remake of A New Hope, and turned it into one of the highest grossing films of all time. The subsequent offerings thus far have been much stronger in my opinion despite the lower grosses. However, it's hard to meet or exceed such a high bar every time, especially with so much pent up exciting for the reigniting of a massive franchise. I think the success of Solo will be telling, especially considering the troubled production and removal of Miller and Lord from the director's chair. The trailer was very intriguing to me with a look that was surprisingly un-Star Wars-y (even more so than Rogue One).

Jurassic Park is a complete crap shoot at this point. On the surface, Jurassic World really wasn't that great of a movie, but might have been the function of perfect slotting - It released in the middle of June following a disappointing Disney movie over Memorial Day (Tomorrowland), far enough apart from Avengers Age of Ultron so as to not be affected by that blockbuster, and was able to carry momentum through July 4th. I think Fallen Kingdom will have trouble replicating what Jurassic World was able to accomplish this year. Leading up to it's June 22nd release this year, it will have Infinity War (releasing on May 4th), Deadpool 2 (May 18th), Solo (May 25), Oceans 8 (June 8), and Incredibles 2 (June 15) with Ant Man and Wasp (July 6), Skyscraper (July 13 - don't doubt the power of The Rock), and Mission Impossible: Fallout (July 27) following the dino-flick. I think Universal would be wise to do some updating of their existing JP attractions and lands to Jurassic World, but huge investments should wait and see if the rebooted franchise has staying power before investing the hundreds of millions needed for brand new attractions.

February 5, 2018 at 3:49 PM · Bravo, above poster person! The idea for a DARK UNIVERSE land or park, or one inspired by the classic Universal Monsters, sounds more fun than any of these film franchises have been lately. I know I'm showing my age, but it's gonna take a helluva performance to fill Harrison Ford's boots as Han or Indy. Good luck, kid. While we're at it, can we re-theme PANDORA: THE WORLD OF AVATAR to ANNIHILATION? Now THAT would be cool. It'd give HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS a run for its money.
February 5, 2018 at 4:02 PM · I actually like all these franchises.

In terms of Jurassic.....I personally don't think Fallen King will do as well as Jurassic World, which benefited from nostalgia (by presenting what Jurassic Park hinted at....the fully realized theme park). That being said, I'm sure it will do quite well.

JP 3 wasn't anywhere near the previous 2 in terms of box office & popularity...but 14 years later the next film was a blockbuster.

Dinos will always be appealing, so even if there is a reboot or remake years from now, the Jurassic franchise will be fine. Signage / logs / films mays change, but the basic premise of "dinosaurs" isn't going out of style.

I feel the same way about Marvel. Yes, while Phase 3 will be coming to an end, the characters themselves have been around for decades & remain popular....so it's simply a matter of not relying TOO much on the current actor / film franchise....vs the character. The Spider-Man ride at IOA works not because it's Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield or Tom Holland.....but because it's Spider-Man. As long as Disney doesn't focus too much on the current cast (ala Guardians @ DCA), they'll be fine.

February 5, 2018 at 4:00 PM · If done right they will all three be able to do well, but Jurassic Park simply does not have enough room to go as far, and Universal (and other studios) are trying too hard to develop franchises. The point about the Dark Universe is an important one, but could be stated differently. Universal tried to make it an action movie, which was a huge mistake. At best, it should be a mid to low budget gothic horror, and Penny Dreadful was an example of how to be on the right track, but that is not really the way to go for a theme park. Universal could have given it to Guillermo del Toro. Disney did not make Star Wars or Marvel. They bought them. A franchise does not happen over night. I will say that Disney did the right thing by Marvel, and D.C. has completely blown their universe by poor management, and Warner Brothers via New Line blew Middle Earth by greed. The Hobbit could have come out immediately after the LOTR in a much different form, and we might not have to stream future Middle-Earth installments on an Amazon Prime App. I would be critical of Fox, but it seems that Disney now owns them too. The real big question will be Solo. There has been so much spin that industry insiders have been all over the place on their predictions. The fact is they did the same thing with Rogue One, and it was beyond excellent to me. The bottom line is Disney cannot allow it to be a letdown, and I hope it lives up to the advertisements from today.
February 5, 2018 at 6:39 PM · For those doubting the power of the Jurassic Park/World franchise...

JUST WAIT until you see the massive expansion plans already completed for the Universal Orlando resort!

February 5, 2018 at 7:00 PM · None of the above. Franchises are just another opportunity for tasteless MBA goons to rip off the idiot masses. Great stories have a beginning, middle and end. Franchises only end when the corporate drones run out of suckers willing to turn over their hard earned peanuts for the same recycled storylines, the same cardboard characters and the same worn out cliches.
February 5, 2018 at 10:38 PM · I voted Jurassic World, mainly because I'm getting fatigued from all the Superhero movies.
February 6, 2018 at 1:07 PM · Considering 1) Last Jedi was the best franchise film released this century and 2) Galaxy's Edge looks absolutely incredible, it's Star Wars in runaway fashion.

Marvel's films have fallen into a creative rut, each the same as the last and all in safe and uninspired fashion. Jurassic World was terrible and the second one looks worse, and despite needing an upgrade desperately Universal seem content to sit on their hands with the Jurassic Park section of Islands.

February 6, 2018 at 2:30 PM · @evanweston - I would say that Thor: Ragnarock was a refreshing entry into the MCU, and early reviews have Black Panther as possibly the best Marvel film ever. However, my issue with Marvel is not that their films have been bad or in any sort of creative rut (they actually are hitting their stride even as they ramp up their releases). The issue is that they have no plan after 2019. Are they going to start integrating X-Men and Fantastic 4 into a 4th phase of the MCU now that Disney owns Fox? Will Disney finally cave and buy Spiderman from Sony/Columbia and integrate him into official Marvel Studios productions? Will all of the characters be rebooted after Infinity War Part 2? I think the MCU has been handled with expert levels of precision, but I'm concerned that Fiege and Disney have no idea what to do or how to build on what has become an established box office juggernaut.
February 6, 2018 at 2:55 PM · I'd love to see a Jurassic World ride at Universal, with updated AAs -- although I still enjoy the existing ride.

They have done one thing that is fresh: the Raptor Encounter at Jurassic Park in Orlando. That's a thrilling meet and greet, and perfectly in the spirit of the franchise (i.e., we are kidding ourselves that we can control these beasts).

February 6, 2018 at 7:02 PM · @ Russell, I think Marvel does have a plan in place after 2019. Infinity War Pt. 2 ends Phase 3 & many of the original actors contracts are up.....but they have releases scheduled after 2019. Spider-Man has a sequel, James Gunn has spoken about Guardians 3 (post Infinity Pt2) Captain Marvel, Black Panther will have sequels, etc. There's even been a talk of a Black Widow solo film.

The MCU will continue after 2019.....They might be tight lipped (without tipping their hand about who could be returning or not), but there's a plan in place.

February 7, 2018 at 8:19 PM · @Russell Meyer—

Research Marvel Phase 4 on the www and you will see statements by Kevin Feige and Bob Iger speaking about the 20 planned movies.

Research data on Disney’s OFFER to buy FOX assets and you will see the OFFER need approvals worldwide. The process, again reiterated this week by Iger, 12 to 18 month’s.

February 8, 2018 at 7:06 AM · @ - That's my point. There's a lot of uncertainty moving forward. Yes, Marvel has loose plans, but nothing concrete at the moment (no directors, no release slots, nothing). Feige wasn't even told about the Fox acquisition until after it happened, so now Marvel would probably have to re-calibrate any long term planning if they wanted to incorporate X-men and/or Fantastic 4 into the MCU. I didn't say they weren't planning beyond Phase 3, but those plans (just a little over a year away), aren't very concrete at the moment. This could perhaps cause a gap in releases as Marvel awaits a decision on the Fox acquisition or a final say from Disney as to what the expectations for Marvel studios will be beyond 2019. FWIW, multi-movie franchises typically plan and announce releases more than 2 years in advance (mostly because it takes a minimum of 15-18 months to take an effects-heavy movie from production to the theaters), so Marvel is getting up against it.
February 8, 2018 at 8:19 AM · @Russell Meyer

Your asking Marvel to announce Phase 4 YESTERDAY, TODAY or TOMORROW because if they don’t the MCU is in jeopardy. Really???

As previously stated by another poster Marvel has films in various stages of production. His/her data came from Marvel statements and the publicity shots you are stating are needed.

As previously stated by comic blog sites, Phase 4 details WILL NOT BE RELEASED YESTERDAY, TODAY or TOMORROW due to revealing critical character spoilers.

Again, all this data is available via the comments to the original blog post.

February 9, 2018 at 4:05 AM · If I understand the question right it's what the parks do with the respective ip's (or could do). In that regard Jurassic Park is the winner theme wise. I love the whole setting and I love the boat ride (much better than the overly bumpy dino ride at AK imho). I think the meet and greet they added after World is a hit and a lot of fun.
The Spiderman ride at Islands of Adventure is still the best dark ride in the the world. From the moment spiderman jumps on your Scoop mobile I believe what is happening. Disney could (finally) go big with Star Wars. But it's lacking real locations from the time I cared about Star Wars. But their effort with the shows with Star Wars characters and everything they have done with Marvel is very mediocre. Will it sell extra tickets, I'm sure, will it be fitting for the Disney parks, not so much.
February 9, 2018 at 9:14 AM · Jurassic Park: The Ride= AWESOME

But, the Jurassic World themed land UC has created is BEYOND AWESOME! Comcast executives are waiting for Jurassic Park 2 results. Internal debate is... convert JP: The Ride and Kong into a land taking over Toon Lagoon or wait for the new park.

WDW Imagineers have already developed an AMAZING Indiana Jones themed land that works for Animal Kingdom. The current debate, will the new Indiana Jones script revive the series. If so, say good-bye to Dinosaur. With Disneyland’s version of Indiana Jones track, already in-place, aka Dinosaur conversion/upgrading/plussing the ride can be relatively quick. Chester and Hester’s would be incorporated into the immersive land.

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