Universal Studios Hollywood Debuts the All-New DreamWorks Theatre Featuring “Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor’s Quest” in Summer 2018
On the heels of the recent acquisition of DreamWorks Animation, Universal Studios Hollywood is setting the stage for the Summer 2018 debut of the all-new DreamWorks Theatre presenting the premier attraction, “Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor’s Quest.”
Inspired by the global blockbuster franchise, the attraction will take guests on a thrilling journey that fuses captivating storytelling with state-of-the art visual effects for a highly engaging experience.
Created and produced by DreamWorks Animation and Universal Creative, “Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor’s Quest” recounts a plot-filled story whereby on the morning of The Emperor’s Great Feast of Heroes, dragon warrior Po embarks on a wild and perilous mission to deliver the rare and precious Liquid of Limitless Power to the Palace, while enlisting guests to join him on the exciting adventure filled with raging rapids, river pirates, awesome magic and Kung Fu.
With cutting-edge technology at the forefront of the multi-sensory attraction, “Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor’s Quest” will introduce the first-ever integration of interior projection mapping designed to engulf guests in 180 degrees of immersive adventure. Developed by the innovative team at Universal Creative, this never-before-adapted technique will depict a series of immersive and visually dynamic scenic designs that will transform within the interior space and enhance the story. With detailing that is so precise, it will be near impossible to realize the projected imagery is a mere illusion.
Coupled with seven Christie 4K Boxer Cinema Projectors and 360 degree surround sound audio, sweeping physical effects from water to wind will empower guests to feel more like participants than spectators in the adrenaline-spiked adventure.
Featuring an original score by composer Germaine Franco, the storyline begins as guests enter the pre-show area of the theatre where they meet an array of DreamWorks characters who kick-off the attraction’s narrative. From there, guests will enter the main theatre, complete with new ultra-plush, fully articulated seats that pivot and swivel in tandem with the 180-degree action.
The newly constructed building that houses the DreamWorks Theatre is inspired by Mission revival architecture and harkens back to the Golden Age of Hollywood’s Art Deco period of the 1920s, including a box office ticket seller booth, reminiscent of the time period and staffed by a three-dimensional Pinocchio character asleep on the job.
As guests navigate past the ticket booth, through the flourishing outdoor garden and into the theatre queue, they will encounter a series of 36 movie posters that pay homage to DreamWorks Animation films. Within the lobby, a selection of over 20 award statuettes will be on display, representing a sampling of the Golden Globe, Emmy, People’s Choice, Critic’s Choice, National Board of Review and Annie awards DreamWorks Animation has amassed from 2008 to 2015. A collection of original sculpted maquettes of the “Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor’s Quest” characters will also be on display along with artifacts embodying magical powers that Po brought back from the Spirit Realm.
Universal Studios Hollywood’s All-New “The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle” Now Open at “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter”
Beginning this weekend, guests are invited to see “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” in a whole new light when Universal Studios Hollywood debuts its all-new “The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle,” featuring a dazzling light projection experience against the backdrop of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
As night falls on Hogsmeade village, “The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle” will shine brightly with an awe-inspiring spectacle that showcases the four houses of Hogwarts: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin and culminates with awesome beams of lights that fan into the night sky.
The colorful state-of-the-art light display and special effects projection, designed to dance across the stunning Hogwarts castle, will be accompanied by a special musical arrangement created by Academy Award-winning composer John Williams based on his original scores composed for the film series. The musical arrangement that will emanate in a surround sound environment was conducted by prolific arranger William Ross and recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra in London.
"The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle” will take place multiple times a night during its summertime run. Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters that were brought to life in the Warner Bros. films, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal Studios Hollywood is a masterful recreation, faithful to the visual landscape of the fiction and films, including as its iconic focal point, Hogwarts castle.
From its snow-capped roofs and cobblestone streets to the historic British sensibilities that characterize the whimsical look and feel of the land, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” transports guests of all ages to the very places they watched on the silver screen.
The architecturally stunning land also includes the incredibly captivating and highly acclaimed “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” thrill ride, now enhanced with 4K-HD and ride film projecting at an astounding rate of 120 frames-per-second for an even more immersive glimpse into Harry Potter’s world, as well as “Flight of the Hippogriff,” Universal Studios Hollywood’s first outdoor family coaster.
“The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” resonates with immense detail, inviting guests to revel in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World with the opportunity to enjoy authentic food and beverages at multiple locations, including Three Broomsticks™ and Hog's Head pub, as well as the Magic Neep and Butterbeer carts.
A foray through the shops adds to the authenticity of the land with eight retail venues and locations, including Honeydukes, Ollivanders, Owl Post, Zonko’s Joke Shop, Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment, Dervish and Banges, Gladrags Wizardwear and Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods.
Last year, I let you know about a new partnership between Universal Parks & Resorts and Nintendo. Today, I am going to update you on this historic collaboration – and share a glimpse at the creative vision behind it. Imagine the fun of stepping into a larger-than-life Nintendo adventure. Gigantic Piranha Plants spring to life. Question blocks, power-ups and more surround you. And Mario and all his friends are there to pull you into a brand-new world. You’ll enter an entire realm filled with iconic Nintendo excitement, gameplay, heroes and villains. And it’s coming to three Universal theme parks around the globe.
The Walking Dead Daytime Attraction Makes Its Debut at Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood unlocked the iconic “Don’t’ Open, Dead Inside” doors to usher in its all-new “The Walking Dead” permanent daytime attraction, based on AMC’s top-rated television series and the most watched show in cable television history, which officially opens to the public on Monday, July 4.
Joining in the celebration was Greg Nicotero (Executive Producer, Director of “The Walking Dead” and owner of KNB Efx), Kyla Kenedy (“Mika Samuels” on “The Walking Dead”), Ross Marquand (“Aaron” on “the Walking Dead”), Brighton Sharbino (“Lizzie Samuels” on “The Walking Dead”), Michael Traynor (“Nicholas” on “The Walking Dead”), Scott Wilson (“Hershel Green” on “The Walking Dead”), and Yvette Nicole Brown (actress and “The Walking Dead” uber fan).
A horde of 100 ravenous walkers were also on hand to help bring the event to life.
Universal Studios Hollywood has worked collaboratively with AMC’s “The Walking Dead” as a signature “Halloween Horror Nights” maze for years. This newly enhanced venture takes the highly sought-after experience from a seasonal, limited time offering to an exciting 365-day opportunity, raising the bar for themed walk-through attractions.
“‘The Walking Dead’ is a phenomenon that has successfully and consistently affected the psyche of viewers on a global basis since its debut,” said Larry Kurzweil, President of Universal Studios Hollywood. “We’re taking its authenticity to the next level by collaborating with the show’s award-winning production team to create a thrilling, living representation of the series that can only be experienced at Universal Studios Hollywood.”
To ensure authenticity of the attraction, Universal Studios Hollywood partnered with “The Walking Dead’s” creative team, including Greg Nicotero and KNB Efx to develop prosthetics, utilize original molds and painstakingly apply paint and detailing to attraction walkers. The integral involvement of the creative team not only inspires the emotional connection fans experience, it will be among the attraction’s key distinguishing characteristics that define it as a living representation of the show.
“After six years of working on ‘The Walking Dead,’ we have this great opportunity to take ‘The Walking Dead’ out of the studio, off the soundstage and into this amazing and truly one-of-a-kind attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood,” said Greg Nicotero. “Guests can now come face-to-face with live and animatronic Walkers that are indiscernible from the Walkers from the show. It’s very exciting, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.”
Coupled with authentic walker make-up effects, sophisticated animatronic walkers, substantially more detailed set design and costuming, and highly recognizable props replicated from the series, “The Walking Dead” attraction delivers an uncompromised realistic environment that brings guests even further into the most watched show in cable television history.
“The Walking Dead” attraction is located within an entirely new, custom-built structure, situated within an expansive building complex just inside the theme park’s main entry. Due to the intense nature of this experience, the attraction is not recommended for guests under the age of 13.
The past five years have been a remarkable time for Universal Studios Hollywood as the destination embarked on an unprecedented revitalization that has substantially altered over 75 percent of its familiar footprint to effectively characterize it as an entirely new theme park experience. The introduction of the all-new “The Walking Dead” attraction continues the theme park’s unparalleled investment in its ambitious epic transformation.
AMC’s “The Walking Dead” depicts the story of survivors in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by hordes of terrifying flesh-eating walkers. It is the #1 show on television among adults 18-49 for the last four years and will debut its seventh season this October.
Universal Studios is embarking on a new five-year plan that will reorient many of its production soundstage facilities to the east near its backlot, as it makes way for additional space to expand its theme park. In the works is a new complex of ten soundstages, to be built in 2017 and 2018, as a cluster of smaller stages on the front and west portion of the lot are removed to make way for new theme park attractions.
Also in the works is a new childcare facility, an expanded fire station and sheriff’s substation, and a trail head park and bike path along the Los Angeles River.
In the first phase of its expansion plans, Universal and its parent Comcast invested $1 billion in the lot and theme park, including the recently opened “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” as well as extensive upgrades to its infrastructure, such as a bridge over Lankershim Boulevard to accommodate visitors coming with the Metro, a new parking structure and new and widened ramps along the Hollywood Freeway. Two new soundstages are under construction and are scheduled to be completed later this year.
It’s official: “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™” will open at Universal Studios Hollywood on Thursday, April 7, 2016, marking the highly-anticipated arrival of the West Coast’s dynamic new immersive experience at The Entertainment Capital of L.A. This eagerly-awaited news coincides with the launch of the destination’s spellbinding campaign, which is stylistically designed to sweep guests into the land’s magical world through the lens of imagination.
The campaign is anchored by a new television spot designed to build suspense and enthusiasm while evoking a sense of wonder and succinctly capture the magical appeal that “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” has for cross-generational consumers as it announces the April 7 opening date. In making the exciting announcement, Universal Studios Hollywood illuminated the land’s Hogwarts castle to signal the arrival of today’s momentous news.
More than five years in the making, and inspired by J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters that were brought to life in the Warner Bros. films, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” is being masterfully recreated with impeccable detail as a real-world interpretation at Universal Studios Hollywood. The land will be faithful to the visual landscape of the fiction and films, including Hogwarts castle which will serve as its iconic focal point.
From its snow-capped roofs and cobblestone streets to the historic British sensibilities that characterize the whimsical look and feel of the land, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” will transport guests of all ages to the very places they read about in the stories or watched on the silver screen.
Upon entering the land through the archway, Hogsmeade will bustle to life with the same vitality of a quaint local village: merchants hard at work, a train conductor welcoming new arrivals and a pub packed to the gills with hungry patrons, but with the added element of enthusiastic guests intent on experiencing them all, including the land’s signature ride, “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey,” and the family outdoor coaster, “Flight of the Hippogriff™.”
An achievement in pioneering theme park ride technology, “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” will make its U.S. debut at Universal Studios Hollywood in hyper-realistic 3D-HD designed to further immerse guests in an already engaging storyline. The multidimensional thrill ride features a groundbreaking robotics ride system, fused with elaborate filmed action sequences and immersive visceral effects. In this updated adaptation of the ride, guests will sport Quidditch-inspired 3D goggles as they venture through journeys experienced by Harry and his friends, spiraling and pivoting 360-degrees along an elevated ride track on a whirlwind adventure of a lifetime.
Also within “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” the enchanting family coaster, “Flight of the Hippogriff™” will open as Universal Studios Hollywood’s first outdoor roller coaster.
“The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” will resonate with immense detail, inviting guests to revel in Harry Potter’s world with the opportunity to enjoy authentic food and beverage at multiple locations, including Three Broomsticks™, and Hog's Head pub, as well as the Magic Neep and Butterbeer™ carts.
A foray through the shops will add to the authenticity of the land with eight retail venues and locations, including Honeydukes™, Ollivanders™, Owl Post™, Zonko’s™ Joke Shop, Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment, Dervish and Banges, Gladrags Wizardwear and Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods™.
Currently, Universal Studios Hollywood in-park guests can experience and purchase authentic merchandise, including wands, robes and other collectibles from "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter," available within the Features Presentation shop, located just inside the theme park’s main entry.
As the countdown to the April 7th opening date continues, the website invites guests to learn more by signing up for the latest news and information atwww.universalstudioshollywood.com/harrypotter/signup.
Transformers to Debut in May
Universal City, California - This past week, Universal Studios Hollywood confirmed that their Transformers: The Ride – 3D will be opening at the park in May 2012. Though the park has not yet announced a firm opening date, but according to reports from Screamscape, the park plans to have the ride open in time for Memorial Day weekend, on May 25th. It is also stated that the park hopes to potentially have a soft opening before then, but these dates are by no means firm.
The park has launched a teaser website for the new ride at www.prepareforbattle.com, and has released a trailer video along with it. From the video, it appears this version of the ride will be very similar, if not nearly identical to the Transformers ride that opened at Universal Studios Singapore just a few weeks ago. As the story goes, humans will be thrust into the middle of an epic battle between the Autobots and Decepticons. Guests will be fighting alongside the Autobots as NEST recruits, trying to protect the ALLSPARK from the Decepticons, who want the ALLSPARK for far more destructive purposes.
Like its cousin overseas, the ride will utilize the same complex ride-show-simulator technology used on the Amazing Adventures of Spiderman attraction at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure. The new attraction will fit into the closed Backdraft and Special Effects Soundstages attraction in the “Lower Lot,” according to Theme Park Tourist. Time to prepare for the ultimate battle of man and machine in early 2012!