The Walt Disney Co. has agreed on an exclusive deal to build attractions based on James Cameron's "Avatar" at its theme parks, starting with its Animal Kingdom park in Orlando, Fla.
CEO Bob Iger made the announcement at a news conference on Tuesday.
Cameron, who is working on the second and third installments of the top-grossing film of all time, said the attractions would be a way to bring the lush world of Pandora to life.
Cameron told reporters, "this is a pretty darned exciting project."
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This morning Disney has announced plans to bring James Cameron’s film franchise “Avatar” to Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney world. In a “long-term creative partnership” and exclusive deal, Cameron and his team will act as creative consultants with Walt Disney Imagineering with construction on the new land beginning by 2013 with a projected opening by 2016.
Specifics of the new Animal Kingdom themed land are not yet revealed, though a press conference is being held at Walt Disney Imagineering headquarters in Glendale, Calif. today.
Press conference photo of James Cameron and others at Walt Disney Imagineering by @EugeneWFields
Plans are expected to feature more than one ride in a whole new park area. The “Pandora” alien planet themed area for Animal Kingdom will also include more than just rides, offering entertainment, shopping, and dining. Many are already calling it Disney’s answer to Universal Orlando’s highly-immersive Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
“James Cameron is a groundbreaking filmmaker and gifted storyteller who shares our passion for creativity, technological innovation and delivering the best experience possible,” said Robert A. Iger, President and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. “With this agreement, we have the extraordinary opportunity to combine James’ talent and vision with the imagination and expertise of Disney.”
“AVATAR is a uniquely powerful franchise that has global appeal with audiences of all ages. Its spectacular settings, intriguing characters, imaginative creatures, and strong themes of family and loyalty make it a perfect fit for Disney,” said Thomas O. Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “We can’t wait to give our guests the ability to journey to Pandora and explore the incredible immersive world of AVATAR in person.”
“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. With two new AVATAR films currently in development, we’ll have even more locations, characters and stories to explore,” said James Cameron. “I’m chomping at the bit to start work with Disney’s legendary Imagineers to bring our AVATAR universe to life. 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.”
Mythical creatures were intended to be part of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park since its opening (the “Beastly Kingdom” project), but this is the first announced opportunity for Disney to showcase more than animals on Earth.
The project is said to cost around the same as the Cars Land expansion of Disney California Adventure, around $200 million. “Avatar” is the highest grossing film world wide ever, at $2.7 billion.
Wow I am really excited what this will turn out like.... Forget the Fantasyland Expansion and The Wizarding World of HP - THIS WILL BE AMAZING