Universal Studios has just put out a press release announcing that in 2010 King Kong will return as an attraction on their famous theme park tour. A life-sized mechanical Kong (viewed from the shoulders up) had part of the tour since the 1980s, but it was destroyed in the fire that gutted the studios a year ago. Now, Universal promises a “Fierce New 4-D Attraction” that will “astound studio tour guests.” Unfortunately, the new Kong will be based upon the 2005 remake directed by Peter Jackson, not the 1933 original – which remains the more enduring monster movie icon, but I guess if you get down to cases, the old Kong attraction (which featured “banana breath”) had more than a whiff of the disastrous Dino DeLaurentis remake from 1976.
Read the press release below:
King Kong, among the screen’s most powerful and enduring icons, will re-emerge on the famed and newly upgraded Universal Studios Hollywood Studio Tour in summer, 2010 as a thrilling and ground-breaking 4-D multi-sensory marvel, a new signature attraction for Universal Studios Hollywood.
The new King Kong attraction, based on the Oscar®-winning 2005 Universal Pictures film, will combine thrilling visceral effects with the world’s largest Surround Digital projection system to create a next-generation theme park experience.
Larry Kurzweil, President and Chief Operating Officer, Universal Studios Hollywood, said: “King Kong has been an integral part of
Universal Studios Hollywood for decades and, after last year’s fire, we knew he had to be resurrected for our Studio Tour guests. We’re very excited to announce that not only are we re-introducing King Kong, but we’ve completely re-imagined the experience and will incorporate this legendary icon into a
truly innovative Studio Tour attraction.”
In the new attraction, guests will don special glasses as they enter a darkened soundstage aboard the Studio Tour trams and will be transported— via the magic of Surround Digital 3D projection —deep into the dark heart of the world of Skull Island. They’ll survive a close encounter with a swarm of monstrous bats, only to be confronted by the terrifying presence of Kong himself. Suddenly, an enormous, ravenous 35′ tall dinosaur will challenge Kong and guests will feel their trams jolt, roll and shudder as they find themselves caught in the middle of a ferocious showdown between the great ape and the giant lizard. The action will immerse guests in the battle between the two colossal predators.
A previous King Kong attraction was introduced at Universal Studios Hollywood in 1986 and remained a much-admired part of the Studio Tour until it was destroyed last year.
King Kong, known as “the eighth wonder of the world,” has been called “the experience for which movies were invented.” Since first appearing on the screen in the 1933 original classic, “King Kong” has been re-made twice, each time on a tremendous scale, earning a total of seven Oscar and three Golden Globe® nominations.
Most recently, the 2005 version took the best elements of the original “King Kong” story and adrenalized them with up-to-the-minute effects magic and the alchemic talents of a superlative group of filmmakers, cast and crew. Released to critical acclaim in late 2005, “King Kong” was a worldwide box office hit and, with DVD sales, earned well over $700 million, becoming the fourth-highest grossing movie in Universal Pictures history.
The arrival of the new King Kong experience will follow major enhancements to the Studio Tour. Universal Studios Hollywood will introduce an upgraded Studio Tour experience this summer, transforming its trams into “mobile movie theaters” with state-of-the-art flat-screen high-definition monitors and digital playback systems. The new high-definition monitors will feature commentary from filmmakers, including Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and Stephen Sommers, along with insight from such personalities as Al Roker, Nancy O’Dell, Billy Bush and Whoopi Goldberg. Clips from numerous movie and television productions, corresponding to sites visited along the Tour route, will add a new dimension to the tour of backlot attractions, sets and facades, capturing how they were transformed for various productions.
Famed film locations on the Universal back lot include the “War of the Worlds” set, Western Streets, European Street, Mexican Street, the Psycho House-Bates Motel, and sets from ABC’s hit series “Desperate Housewives” on Wisteria Lane. Back lot attractions include “Earthquake,” “Jaws,” “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” and “The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb.”
Also this summer, Universal Studios welcomes the “The Tonight Show Starring Conan O’Brien” to a newly constructed soundstage at the studio and will celebrate the re-opening of most of the iconic sets damaged in last year’s fire. Studio tours and film production will resume at the world-famous Courthouse Square, Brownstone Street and an enhanced New York Street. Additionally, new film locations will be introduced to meet contemporary film production needs, including a modern urban cityscape, with glass and steel façade structures that will provide film and TV crews with the opportunity to replicate a modern city street scene in a controlled studio environment. The new contemporary cityscape will be the largest modern urban backlot shooting location in Los Angeles.