terminator 2 3d closing 2

After 21 years of operation, Terminator 2: 3D at Universal Studios Florida is set to close its doors forever. The attraction is a theme park landmark for a number of reasons and was, for years, one of the first stops for many guests entering the park. However, Universal Studios has proven itself to be unsentimental when it comes to its classic attractions. Their parks are in a constant state of self-reinvention, a far cry from the ever-nostalgic leanings of Disney theme parks.

Now we consider two questions: what is replacing Terminator 2: 3D and is any ride safe from Universal’s ruthless (but undeniably effective) quest to bring the biggest, most advanced, and most “tied to a beloved intellectual property” attractions to its parks?

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How Pandora The World of Avatar Reflects the Film

There is no denying that the movie Avatar was once a great cultural event. In late 2009, director James Cameron’s blockbuster about blue-skinned aliens was seemingly all anyone could talk about, even though it was arguably not even the best science fiction film that year (to be sure, the landscape was crowded, with District 9, Star Trek, and Moon all jockeying to be the sci-fi inclusions on people’s Top Ten lists.)

Critics hailed Avatar as a singularly immersive theatergoing experience, and audiences agreed, insofar as they helped it unseat Cameron’s previous film, Titanic, to become the highest grossing film of all time. Even when adjusted for inflation, it still ranks as the second highest grosser, right behind the classic Gone with the Wind.

Yet as many have noted, in the intervening years since Avatar set off the big wave of post-converted 3-D films, it seemed to vanish from the cultural conversation. Back in 2014, on the fifth anniversary of the film’s release, Scott Mendolson of Forbes.com posted an article examining the film’s legacy. The headline of that article asserted that Avatar had “left no pop culture footprint.” And indeed, the film’s cultural relevance, or lack thereof, is something the voices on our own /Filmcast have continued to debate.

As of this summer, however, Avatar the experience (emphasis on “experience” over the film’s middling story) has suddenly become relevant again. All it took was the opening of a certain theme park land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida.

Let’s take a closer look at Pandora – The World of Avatar, how it fits in with Animal Kingdom, and how it brings aspects of Cameron’s film to life in a way that just might make a believer out of you, even if you are not an Avatar fan.

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star wars galaxy's edge 2

Despite being home to a few of the finest attractions in Walt Disney World, the Hollywood Studios theme park in Orlando, Florida currently isn’t worth the price of admission. But that will change in a few years, when the massive construction projects that have reduced the park to a half-day experience are finished and you can visit entire worlds based on Star Wars and Toy Story (with even more reportedly in the pipeline). Hollywood Studios is in the process of completely remaking itself – in a few years, it’ll be a brand new park.

With these big changes may come a new name. A new survey reveals that Hollywood Studios may undergo a name change in the near future and a new mission statement – heavily themed and highly interactive worlds based on your favorite movies. And this feels like the future of theme parks in general.

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Star Wars Force Friday II

We’re just one week away from Force Friday II, the big merchandising event that will see a slew of Star Wars: The Last Jedi toys, clothing, posters, books and more thrown on shelves as part of Disney and Lucasfilm’s massive hype machine that we happily crank up each and every week. While most of the secrets of The Last Jedi will likely be kept intact, it doesn’t mean there won’t be some details gleaned from the event. In fact, part of the Force Friday II promotion will include the reveal of a new character through the “Find the Force” augmented reality event accessed through the official Star Wars app.

Find out more about Star Wars Force Friday II and this special promotion below. Read More »

Stephen King's It Clown-Only Screening

The Alamo Drafthouse is the king of theater chains when it comes to hosting screenings that fans go crazy for. They have awesome movie parties, get special guests for Q&As, and have awesome collectibles and memorabilia to commemorate them. But one of their upcoming events for a certain horror movie releasing in September has the potential to give you nightmares.

A new adaptation of Stephen King’s It is coming to theaters next month from director Andy Muschietti. From what we’ve seen from the trailers, this could be the adaptation fans have been waiting to see since they read the book so many years ago. However, for some lucky, or maybe unlucky viewers, the experience will be made all the more unnerving by watching It in a theater full of clowns.

If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, maybe you’d rather hear some tracks from the It soundtrack? You can find details on the It clown-only screening and the two samples of the score below.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Halloween Ride

Even though the new Disneyland attraction Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! just opened in May in the California Adventure Park area, the ride is already getting a makeover to go along with the theme park’s Halloween festivities.

Beginning on September 15 and lasting through All Hallows’ Eve on October 31, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! will be transformed into Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark. The ride will take on a new storyline during this time involving Rocket Raccoon and his tree pal Groot. Find out more about the Guardians of the Galaxy Mission BREAKOUT Halloween updates below. Read More »

Close Encounters of the Third Kind 40th Anniversary

Fresh off what was dubbed an unforgettable event in honor of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the Alamo Drafthouse has yet another incredible screening experience planned, this time for a sci-fi classic that’s turning 40 this year.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind is celebrating its 40th anniversary, and while we already know Steven Spielberg’s film is returning to theaters in September for the milestone anniversary, we had no idea Alamo Drafthouse was going to do something like this again to celebrate their own 20th anniversary.

Partnering with SyFy for their 25th anniversary this year, Alamo Drafthouse has planned a 40th anniversary screening of Close Encounters of the Third Kind at the base of Devil’s Tower, the same natural, national monument that is an important piece of the film’s story. A similar event was planned as part of Alamo’s Rolling Roadshow many years ago, but this sounds even more epic. Find out more about the Close Encounters of the Third Kind 40th anniversary event below. Read More »

harry potter video game ride

Harry Potter doesn’t own wizards and magic wands — though The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando certainly popularized selling them in merchandise form.

The magic wand is a particularly clever piece of marketing that also is deeply connected to the world of Harry Potter — there are whole subplots about the importance of a wizard’s bond with his wand and how the “wand chooses the wizard.” Heck, the entire finale of Harry Potter hinges on the ownership of a wand! Merlin’s wand in Disney’s The Sword in the Stone? Not so pivotal.

But Disneyland Paris is piggybacking on the success of the Harry Potter wands, and creating their own brand of magic wands that can be sold at a Merlin’s Shop near you! And by near you, I mean exclusively in Disneyland Paris.

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The Nurse short film

Warner Bros.’ The Conjuring Cinematic Universe grew larger this month with the release of director David F. Sandberg‘s spin-off prequel Annabelle: CreationSandberg got his start making a short film called Lights Out that he then went on to adapt as a feature. Recently, he and Warner Bros. created a similar opportunity for up-and-coming filmmakers to get their names out there by holding a short film contest for stories that would fit well into the world of The Conjuring films.

The United States winner has been announced (other countries’ winners will be announced soon), and it’s a short called The Nurse from director Julian Terry. Check it out below.
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indiana jones adventure

The newest rumor churning through the Disney Parks rumor mill is a report that an Indiana Jones Land is in consideration for Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. Here’s what’s going on.
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