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Rumor: Universal Studios Reportedly Cancels Plans for Pokemon and Zelda Park Attractions

The Adder

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,597
Go look at the Wikipedia list of highest grossing media franchises of all time. Now tell me how “Pokémon Theme Park” is not the FIRST thing they’d want to do.
"Wait, we have to deal with multiple corporate entities to make the Pokemon park? It couldn't possibly be worth it,"
~Out of Touch Suit, most likely
 

VinylCassette64

The Fallen
Oct 26, 2017
1,020
Late response, but forgot to mention this:

"We're not sure if a Pokemon theme park will be successful" sounds like something hard to swallow but so dumb I could believe someone thinks it.
It's worth noting Universal was originally supposed to distribute Detective Pikachu in the first place, before Warner Bros. ended up with the worldwide distribution rights. Actually makes me think that Universal(/Comcast) dropping DP from their release slate that film and now canceling Nintendo theme park plans may be reflective of a broader lack of faith in Nintendo as a whole.
 

Tavernade

Member
Sep 18, 2018
681
Canceling a Pokemon theme park land is even stupider than Disney passing on Harry Potter. Like, when Disney canceled on Harry Potter, it was still 'sorta' new and was technically still unproven long term (which... I don't understand how Avatar wasn't but...). Pokemon has hung around longer than Potter, and is basically a merchandising empire. The land could cost as much as Star Wars land and still break even easily.
 

UltraMagnus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,154
Late response, but forgot to mention this:



It's worth noting Universal was originally supposed to distribute Detective Pikachu in the first place, before Warner Bros. ended up with the worldwide distribution rights. Actually makes me think that Universal(/Comcast) dropping DP from their release slate that film and now canceling Nintendo theme park plans may be reflective of a broader lack of faith in Nintendo as a whole.
Maybe they are upset Nintendo went with Warner Bros. I dunno if that was really a smart play on Universal's part because it looks like that movie is going to make a ton of money.

It's also possible the cost/vision Nintendo had for the Pokemon/Zelda areas was maybe above what Universal was willing to go in for and/or they want to see if the Mario/DK areas do well before investing that much. I imagine Miyamoto is not the easiest to work with because he probably has a large vision with high quality standards and Universal may not be on the same boat.
 

UltraMagnus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,154
I think Universal understands movie/TV IP, video gaming is still probably a little bit of a dicey proposition to the older execs.

When they see GD Pikachu's box office, I think they're going to be scrambling to get Nintendo on the phone.
 

Chindogg

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,128
East Lansing, MI
Some of you guys are acting like they couldn't change their minds at any given time.

More than likely their engineers already have initial concept art done. It would just be a matter of greenlighting it.

That said, Universal is currently working on: A Harry Potter coaster, a complete revamp of Jurassic Park (possibly rebranding to Jurassic World,) and replacing T2:3D with what is probably Bourne.

They're extremely good at doing massive projects in parallel in a timely manner. Hell, they made Transformers in Florida in about a year as they were creating Springfield and Daigon Alley.
 

Coconico

Member
Oct 25, 2017
289
Miami
Canceling a Pokemon theme park land is even stupider than Disney passing on Harry Potter. Like, when Disney canceled on Harry Potter, it was still 'sorta' new and was technically still unproven long term (which... I don't understand how Avatar wasn't but...). Pokemon has hung around longer than Potter, and is basically a merchandising empire. The land could cost as much as Star Wars land and still break even easily.
Pokemon and Harry Potter have been in the cultural consciousnesses for roughly the same amount of time, it would be difficult to gauge the impact of one over the other since they focus on different markets all together. One is a film-centric IP (despite it's origins as a novel) and the other is a game-centric one. Both of them have dipped their toes in the other's mediums--but they largely remain out of competition with one another and only have any connection due to Universal Studios' theme park ventures.

What boggles the mind (and makes me wonder how far back this 20th Century Fox deal was in the works at Disney) is that the announcement of Pandora at Animal Kingdom was a direct response to the smash success of Harry Potter at Universal, and still years before Universal would announce a partnership with Nintendo. Why Disney did not approach Nintendo for a "Pokemon Island" at Animal Kingdom is beyond me, it's certainly a better fit than Avatar, especially considering Disney's target audience.
 

UltraMagnus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,154
Pokemon and Harry Potter have been in the cultural consciousnesses for roughly the same amount of time, it would be difficult to gauge the impact of one over the other since they focus on different markets all together. One is a film-centric IP (despite it's origins as a novel) and the other is a game-centric one. Both of them have dipped their toes in the other's mediums--but they largely remain out of competition with one another and only have any connection due to Universal Studios' theme park ventures.

What boggles the mind (and makes me wonder how far back this 20th Century Fox deal was in the works at Disney) is that the announcement of Pandora at Animal Kingdom was a direct response to the smash success of Harry Potter at Universal, and still years before Universal would announce a partnership with Nintendo. Why Disney did not approach Nintendo for a "Pokemon Island" at Animal Kingdom is beyond me, it's certainly a better fit than Avatar, especially considering Disney's target audience.
The thing is to Universal execs ... they're mostly old-ass movie/TV guys. Harry Potter has proven box office numbers.

Video games are probably still to them ... well video games. Popular sure, but deep down they still likely don't have the same trust in them as they would in a hit movie franchise.

Making an investment as large as having 3 huge areas of your theme park dedicated to a video game company probably scared them off a bit, but my guess is when they see Great Detective Pikachu doing big box office they're going to want back in on the Pokemon park at least.
 

Coconico

Member
Oct 25, 2017
289
Miami
The thing is to Universal execs ... they're mostly old-ass movie/TV guys. Harry Potter has proven box office numbers.

Video games are probably still to them ... well video games. Popular sure, but deep down they still likely don't have the same trust in them as they would in a hit movie franchise.

Making an investment as large as having 3 huge areas of your theme park dedicated to a video game company probably scared them off a bit, but my guess is when they see Great Detective Pikachu doing big box office they're going to want back in on the Pokemon park at least.
That's a great point, it wouldn't surprise me if gaming has that kind of stigma to them. Considering there's almost never been an exploration of a game IP in a theme park like this before, it probably doesn't inspire confidence and generates more fear of it being a serious risk.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the closest we've ever gotten to video games at a major theme park was the Final Fantasy/Monster Hunter show during CoolJapan in Universal a few years ago and the Resident Evil/Silent Hill houses at HHN (which were both specifically based on the games and not the films).
 

Xtortion

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,793
United States
I could definitely see Zelda causing some hesitation for Universal. Really not sure how big its mindshare is among the general public.

Pokemon should happen, though (TPC willing). I was at Disney World a few days ago and you wouldn't believe how many people were glued to their phones playing Pokemon Go. The interest is clearly there. But yeah, they already have their hands full with the Mario/Yoshi/DK stuff. Baby steps.
 

UltraMagnus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,154
Does the deal with Universal tie all Nintendo properties to Universal?

Like what would happen if Nintendo were to say "OK, cool, we'll take Pokemon and Zelda to those Disney guys".

Which honestly is probably better for Nintendo, lol, because they'd get exposure at both Universal and Disney parks that way.
 

Lackless

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
4,137
Cancelling a Zelda attraction? Yeah I can get that. It's big but it's not a must-have.
Cancelling a Pokemon attraction? Lol wat?
 

Xtortion

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,793
United States
Does the deal with Universal tie all Nintendo properties to Universal?

Like what would happen if Nintendo were to say "OK, cool, we'll take Pokemon and Zelda to those Disney guys".

Which honestly is probably better for Nintendo, lol, because they'd get exposure at both Universal and Disney parks that way.
Universal has the rights to all Nintendo IPs. Pokemon is the only one that raises questions, due to TPC.
 

UltraMagnus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,154
Universal has the rights to all Nintendo IPs. Pokemon is the only one that raises questions, due to TPC.
Yeah so if Disney could move in here, I think that might be a mistake Universal would regret for a long, long time.

Granted it sounds like this is only for the Orlando park ... so Universal in Japan may still be getting Zelda and Pokemon areas.
 

UltraMagnus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,154
Pokemon and Harry Potter have been in the cultural consciousnesses for roughly the same amount of time, it would be difficult to gauge the impact of one over the other since they focus on different markets all together. One is a film-centric IP (despite it's origins as a novel) and the other is a game-centric one. Both of them have dipped their toes in the other's mediums--but they largely remain out of competition with one another and only have any connection due to Universal Studios' theme park ventures.

What boggles the mind (and makes me wonder how far back this 20th Century Fox deal was in the works at Disney) is that the announcement of Pandora at Animal Kingdom was a direct response to the smash success of Harry Potter at Universal, and still years before Universal would announce a partnership with Nintendo. Why Disney did not approach Nintendo for a "Pokemon Island" at Animal Kingdom is beyond me, it's certainly a better fit than Avatar, especially considering Disney's target audience.
Avatar is the biggest movie of all time with James Cameron willing to personally design the area, you have to understand these are movie execs making most of the decisions here. Avatar was absolutely a big get for Animal Kingdom, it's probably the most popular attraction Disney has at the moment.

They're going to favor a popular movie franchise over any game franchise 10/10 times.

Universal execs will probably be "holy crap! This Pokemon thing is really legit!" once they see Great Detective Pikachu's box office.
 

Xtortion

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,793
United States
Avatar is the biggest movie of all time with James Cameron willing to personally design the area, you have to understand these are movie execs making most of the decisions here.

They're going to favor a popular movie franchise over any game franchise 10/10 times.

Universal execs will probably be "holy crap! This Pokemon thing is really legit!" once they see Great Detective Pikachu's box office.
There's nothing to suggest that Universal is undervaluing Pokemon or isn't interested in it in the future.
 

UltraMagnus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,154
There's nothing to suggest that Universal is undervaluing Pokemon or isn't interested in it in the future.
Well I mean if they valued it as highly as probably the younger generation does, I would imagine they'd be in deep for several Pokemon attractions.

These are movie execs in their 50s/60s/70s in some cases calling the shots. They don't understand the game business and didn't grow up with a Game Boy. I mean yeah I'm sure they know Pokemon is popular, but 20 million an installment is great until you realize hit movies in the 2000s were selling 30-50 million DVDs on top of monstrous box office take.

They understand that more.
 

Xtortion

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,793
United States
Well I mean if they valued it as highly as probably the younger generation does, I would imagine they'd be in deep for several Pokemon attractions.
Maybe they will be in deep for Pokemon attractions? They already have ongoing construction in all of their parks. Resources aren't infinite, and Pokemon, like any theme park attraction, has to wait its turn. The time to worry would be after SNW in Osaka is finished up.
 

UltraMagnus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,154
Maybe they will be in deep for Pokemon attractions? They already have ongoing construction in all of their parks. Resources aren't infinite, and Pokemon, like any theme park attraction, has to wait its turn. The time to worry would be after SNW in Osaka is finished up.
Like I said, they probably will go running back to Nintendo when they see that Great Detective Pikachu box office ... passing on which is probably another mistake they're going to regret.

Universal has the Jurassic Park and Fast & Furious IP along with Minions, but I think they're going to really regret not locking down Pokemon as a film franchise as I would guess that Nintendo will just go with Warner Bros. for future Pokemon films.
 

Mr. Pointy

Member
Oct 28, 2017
2,947
Theme park queen Alicia Stella confirms it's a dumb rumour and they weren't even planned yet.

Also that Rise Of The Resistance ride at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge sounds great.