Posted on Thursday, August 12th, 2010 by Adam Quigley
Pictured above: The welcoming, family-friendly sights of Mordor.
Middle-earth wouldn’t be the first place I’d think of to fashion a theme park around, but that’s not stopping Universal Studios from considering the idea. They must be having a lot of success with their recently opened Wizarding World of Harry Potter, because they’re now trying to test the waters with a potential Lord of the Rings attraction, gauging reactions through email surveys. Check out the studio’s pitch after the break.
The One Ring took note of the message board postings from a variety of Disney chat sites, one of which featured a segment from the email:
Imagine if you will a world unlike any you’ve ever visited before: it’s Middle Earth, the ancient and beautiful land forged by J.R.R. Tolkien as the backdrop for his two most well known creations, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Walk as a human among dwarves, elves, orcs and hobbits — all faithfully recreated and portrayed in the spirit of the original characters as they appeared in both the books and the movies. In this land you’ll experience one-of-a-kind rides and attractions that bring to life some of the most memorable experiences of Tolkien’s world including Bilbo’s hobbit hole, the fortress at Isengard (before it was destroyed) and even the dark world of Mordor — including the terrifying volcanic Mount Doom.
With each of their respective film adaptations, The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter have had very comparable box office grosses, so it makes sense that Universal would be looking into the possibility of expanding Tolkien’s fantastical world much in the way that they did J.K. Rowling’s. That doesn’t, however, mean that it’s a good idea, or even a financially viable one. The world surrounding Harry Potter is one that lends itself to “fun and whimsy”, as a brochure might sell it, and there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of food/drink concessions. If I were a child, I could totally imagine myself wanting to explore a recreation of Hogwarts, or going to Hogsmeade to try Butterbeer.
But outside of the most fanatic of Lord of the Rings fans, who exactly are they targeting for a Middle-earth recreation? In order for a theme park to be successful, doesn’t it need to appeal to young kids? Would families really be interested in walking around men dressed as Orcs or checking out dirt-hole homes or taking their children to admire to the ashy, hellish terrain of Mordor? I can already picture the food & drink menu: bread, biscuits, potatoes, and beer. (Honey-cake has potential, though.)
It’s an interesting idea, but I can’t imagine anything coming of this.