Thursday, 22 September 2011

Disney signs deal to bring Avatar to parks

Disney signs deal to bring Avatar to parks

By Michelle Baran
James Cameron talks about AvatarWalt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide has entered into an exclusive agreement with filmmaker James Cameron and Fox Filmed Entertainment to create attractions in its theme parks based on the hit film "Avatar."

Disney said on Tuesday that it will partner with Cameron and producing partner Jon Landau to create "Avatar" themed lands, with the construction of the first such land expected to begin by 2013 within the Animal Kingdom park at Walt Disney World in Florida.

"Avatar is a uniquely powerful franchise that has global appeal with audiences of all ages," Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt 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."

The agreement gives Disney exclusive global theme park rights to the "Avatar" franchise and allows Disney to build additional "Avatar" themed lands at the other Disney parks.

Cameron, Landau and the Lightstorm Entertainment group will serve as creative consultants on the projects, partnering with the Walt Disney Imagineering team in the design and development of the "Avatar" themed lands.

"Avatar created a world which audiences can discover again and again and now, through this incredible partnership with Disney, we'll be able to bring Pandora to life like never before," Cameron said in a statement. "With two new Avatar films currently in development, we'll have even more locations, characters and stories to explore. Our goal is to go beyond current boundaries of technical innovation and experiential storytelling, and give park goers the chance to see, hear and touch the world of Avatar with an unprecedented sense of reality."

"Avatar," a sci-fi/action film that incorporated advanced motion capture and 3-D digital projection technologies, generated $2.8 billion at the worldwide box office when it was released in 2009. The film's two sequels will bow in 2014 and 2015.

"This new venture complements Walt Disney Parks and Resorts' strategic efforts to continue to invest in its core theme park businesses around the world while simultaneously expanding into other parts of the family vacation business," Disney said in a statement.