Posted on Wednesday, February 11th, 2009 by Brendon Connelly
The original plan with all of these Disney films based on theme park attractions was apparently to make the attractions appealing again, to drive up attendence to the parks. For better and worse, I guess it didn’t really work out that way. The Country Bears movie probably did the attraction’s reputation harm, The Haunted Mansion is probably not worth bringing up even, and Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow so comprehensively hijacked the very notion of Pirates of Caribbean, became the face of the concept in such an immediate and powerful way that a ride without his likeness won’t ever feel really connected to the film franchise. But wow – what a money spinner those Pirates films proved to be.
According to Bloody Disgusting, Disney are setting up to give the concept another go, with a big screen movie derived from their Tower of Terror. Unfortunately, there are some pesky rights issues to be resolved first…
The original Tower attraction is a licensed Twilight Zone tie-in, but Disney doesn’t own the rights to The Twilight Zone – Warner Bros. does. I noticed that the Twilight Zone name is missing from some of Tower‘s marketing materials, but at the same time, the very distinctive typeface is still present. With rumors also rumbling up over the last twelve months or so that another Zone movie might be in the making, Warners might be particularly keen to protect their property.
There was a previous film derived from Tower – but that one went straight to TV. Starring a 1997 era Steve Guttenberg and Kirsten Dunst (after his heyday, before hers) the film was apparently a testing ground for the very concept of rides-to-film adaptations.
The premise with Tower of Terror is that five visitors – or in the film, “characters” – take a trip in an elevator of the Hollywood Tower Hotel but the elevator goes kablooey, starts acting like part of a theme park ride, drops “thirteen storeys” at a thrilling but safely controlled velocity and then deposits it’s passengers in “the historicaly haunted” depths of the attraction.
This could be a lot of fun, of course it could, but I dare say it won’t be. This is more likely to be the next Scooby Doo. And you can hold me to that.
If I was producing this, I’d get John Landis or Joe Dante on the job as soon as possible – though asking the former to revisit a Twilight Zone property might be somewhat insensitive – or maybe Gil Kenan. They seem like they’d “get it”.
My favourite film to be tied-in to a Disney attraction? Mission to Mars. I’m not going to deny it.