'Avatar' Theme Land Headed to Disney Parks

11:15 AM PST 09/20/2011 by Alex Ben Block
Courtesy of Twentieth Century-Fox

The first themed "land" will be built at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, with construction expected to start by 2013.

The blue people are coming to Disney.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide has sealed a deal with filmmaker James Cameron and producer Jon Landau, Fox and Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment to create themed attractions at Disney parks based on the 2009 movie.

The first themed "land" will be built at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, with construction expected to start by 2013. 

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The first Avatar attraction will be inside the Animal Kingdom park. Disney said this was chosen because "with its emphasis on living in harmony with nature, Animal Kingdom is a natural fit for the Avatar stories, which share the same philosophy."

Cameron and Landau, through Lightstorm, will be creative consultants and partner with Walt Disney Imagineering in the design and development of the Avatar attractions, which eventually will be at other Disney parks worldwide as well.

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The deal is exclusive to Disney, which plans to roll out other Avatar attractions over time. Some of that will depend on discussions with joint venture partners on parks outside the U.S.   

The parks will not only play off the huge hit movie which dominated the box office for months in 2010, but also benefit from the release to two more movies now in pre-production. Cameron has announced plans to release those movies at Christmas 2014 followed by the second at Christmas 2015.

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Avatar was a movie that broke new ground in terms of presentation and technology, especially in the use of 3D. It is expected that the theme park attractions will also use that technology and new innovations to engage park visitors.

“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.”

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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."

"This exciting new venture combines the world of Avatar with the enormous reach of Disney and the incomparable talent of Jim Cameron,” said Fox Filmed Entertainment chairmen Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman.  “While Jim is bringing audiences further into Pandora with the next two chapters in the Avatar motion picture saga, the theme park attraction will likewise bring a new dimension to the amazing universe he created."

"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.”
 

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