While the world of theme parks can be fiercely competitive, it is not unheard of for situations to arise that warrant some strange bedfellows. For example, Disney's acquisition of Marvel caused Universal to be in a position where they have to make royalty payments to Disney for the use of the Marvel characters. Since the royalty is based on attendance, Disney even had to set-up an internal information wall so that those auditing Universal's payment wouldn't be able to give the theme park division attendance details.
But this is a funny thing to consider: a division of The Walt Disney Company is working on Universal Orlando's newest attraction. According to their website, Lucasfilm's Industrial Light & Magic is doing the visual effects for Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Fallon recently shared a behind-the-scenes video of the attractions development on The Tonight Show.
So while this may seem odd at initial glance, it is not that surprising. First of all, this is not ILM's first time working for Universal as they did the visual effects for Transformers: The Ride the same year they did work for Star Tours: The Adventures Continue. Of course, this was before Disney bought them.
This situation only seems odd because it is in a theme park. In the world of film production, this kind of thing happens all the time. ILM does not just do effects for Star Wars and other Disney productions but is hired by a variety of studios for an array of projects. In fact, out of the six films released in 2016 with work by ILM, half of them had no other Disney association. Deepwater Horizon (Summit), Warcraft (Universal) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (Paramount) featured work by ILM.
But that doesn't mean I don't take a little joy knowing that several Universal attractions were either developed with a division of Disney or are based on Disney intellectual property. To recap, there will be six rides at Universal with a Disney connection when Fallon makes his debut in the former Twister show building.
- Doctor Doom's Fearfall
- Storm Force Accelatron
- The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
- The Incredible Hulk Coaster
- Transformers: The Ride
- Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
Keep in mind that only eight attractions at Universal Orlando are based on properties that Universal actually owns, and two of those attractions are a result of Universal's recent purchase of Dreamworks Animation. When looking at it this way, Disney has had nearly as much impact on Universal theme parks as Universal movies have.
Well, that may be going far... but it does kind of make you feel bad for them. It is not their fault that they don't have the top entertainment brands or visual effects studio in-house. 😉
I wonder if Fallon will write one of his trademark thank you notes to Disney for helping bring his new attraction to life...