Make us your home page

'Avatar' attraction coming to Disney parks

LOS ANGELES — The Walt Disney Co. has struck a deal to bring the fantasy world of Avatar to its theme parks, starting with a multi-attraction themed land at Disney's Animal Kingdom near Orlando.

Director James Cameron and producing partner Jon Landau — the team behind the 2009 cinematic blockbuster Avatar — will serve as creative consultants, working with Walt Disney Imagineering to bring the fantasy world of Pandora and the broader Avatar universe to Disney's parks throughout the world.

A groundbreaking at Animal Kingdom is planned for 2013.

"I'm champing at the bit to start work with Disney's legendary Imagineers to bring our Avatar universe to life," Cameron said in announcing the deal Tuesday morning. "Our goal is to go beyond current boundaries of technical innovation and experiential storytelling and give parkgoers the chance to see, hear and touch the world of Avatar with an unprecedented sense of reality."

Fox Filmed Entertainment co-chairman Jim Gianopulos, whose movie studio financed, marketed and distributed Avatar, said Disney was a natural choice as a licensing partner because of its global reach and stature. He said the world Cameron envisioned, starting with Pandora and stretching out to include other creatures and settings, is a natural fit for a theme park experience.

"It lends itself very well, not only to subsequent films, but to be imagined and realized in the parks," Gianopulos said.

Disney's deal with Cameron grants the entertainment giant exclusive global theme park rights to the Avatar franchise. The first film set the box office record for the highest-grossing movie, bringing in $2.8 billion in worldwide ticket sales. Cameron and Fox have already announced they are planning two sequels, the first expected in 2014.

The news comes in response to Universal Studios' success with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the themed land based on the popular J.K. Rowling books and Warner Bros. movies. The addition to Universal's Orlando park has boosted attendance and merchandise sales. Avatar is also a fantasy film with similar broad appeal to children and adults.

Tom Staggs, chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts, said in a statement, "Its spectacular settings, intriguing characters, imaginative creatures and strong themes of family and loyalty make it a perfect fit for Disney."

Disney originally had planned to create a land of mythical creatures such as dragons as part of its Animal Kingdom, but those plans never materialized, and the land remains undeveloped. Although aliens would seem an unlikely addition to Disney's elaborate zoo, the entertainment conglomerate said the Avatar land will emphasize the film's theme of "living in harmony with nature."

'Avatar' attraction coming to Disney parks 09/21/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 10:21am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Los Angeles Times.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. As Dow hits new high, Raymond James Financial reports record financial gains


    On the same day that the Dow closed at new highs, investment firm Raymond James Financial reported record revenues and earnings for its fiscal third quarter that ended June 30.

    Raymond James Financial CEO Paul Reilly unveiled record quarterly revenues and earnings for the St. Petersburg-based investment firm. [Courtesy of Raymond James Financial]
  2. Florida GDP growth in first quarter 2017 ranks 21st among states, still outpacing U.S.

    Economic Development

    Florida's gross domestic product or GDP rose 1.4 percent in the first quarter, slightly faster than the nation's growth of 1.2 percent and placing Florida 21st among the states for growth rates, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

    Not too hot. Not too cold.

    These Jackson Square Townhomes began hitting the west Hillsborough County market late last year and continued to be sold into the first quarter of 2017. The real estate sector was the biggest driver of Florida's gross domestic product, which rose 1.4 percent in the first quartrer of 2017.  [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  3. A new app will help you find your favorite Tampa Bay food trucks

    Food & Dining

    What's new: Food tech

    Local food businesses are embracing new technologies and partnerships to bring us extra deliciousness.

    Michael Blasco of Tampa Bay Food Trucks says that everyone always asked about an app to help find their favorite food trucks. There is, available for iPhones and Droids.
  4. Another Pinellas foreclosure auction fools bidders, raises questions

    Real Estate

    For the second time in six weeks, a company connected to lawyer Roy C. Skelton stood poised to profit from a Pinellas County foreclosure auction that confused even experienced real estate investors.

    A Palm Harbor company bid  $112,300 for  this Largo townhome at a foreclosure auction July 21 not realizing the auction involved a second mortgage, connected to lawyer and  real estate investor Roy Skelton -- and that the bank could still foreclose on the  first mortgage.
  5. Clearwater-based USAmeriBank acquired by New Jersey bank in $816 million deal


    CLEARWATER — USAmeriBancorp, Inc., based in Clearwater, is being acquired by New Jersey's Valley National Bancorp in an $816 million deal, it was announced today.

    Joe Chillura, CEO of USAmeribank, shown inside a branch in Ybor City in this file photo.