Disney has announced they have entered into a long term partnership with James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment and Fox Filmed Entertainment to bring characters and settings from the hit movie Avatar to Disney’s theme parks. It will all begin at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the next few years.
James Cameron, his partner Jon Landau and their team at Lightstorm Entertainment work with Disney’s Imagineers to bring guests into the world of Avatar. Two more Avatar movies are scheduled to be reproduced and released.
Construction is set to start at Animal Kingdom in 2013. Animal Kingdom is listed as the first Avatar-themed land, so others may be announced for other Disney parks outside of Florida in the future.
“James Cameron is a groundbreaking filmmaker and gifted storyteller who shares our passion for creativity, technological innovation and delivering the best experience possible,” said Disney President Bob Iger. “With this agreement, we have the extraordinary opportunity to combine James’ talent and vision with the imagination and expertise of Disney.”
“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,” Cameron said. “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 parkgoers the chance to see, hear and touch the world of Avatar with an unprecedented sense of reality.”
“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 Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs. “We can’t wait to give our Guests the ability to journey to Pandora and explore the incredible immersive world of Avatar in person.”
“This exciting new venture combines the world of Avatar with the enormous reach of Disney and the incomparable talent of Jim Cameron,” commented 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.”
UPDATE: Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs answered some questions e-mailed by fans on the Disney Parks Blog. Here are some of his more interesting comments:
“We’ve just begun the design phase on our Animal Kingdom project and we expect to begin construction in 2013. From start to finish, a project of this size and scope takes about 5 years to design and build. We can’t give you an exact date but we know that when it’s complete, it’s going to be a truly unforgettable experience.
“While we’re still in the very early stages of design and planning, we expect this land to be anchored by multiple attractions, entertainment, merchandise locations, restaurants and other immersive elements.
“Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the perfect place for our first Avatar land because at its core, the park gives guests the opportunity to experience the worlds of animals and nature – real and mythical – in whole new ways.