A recent article from the Orlando Sentinel has given us a look into whether or not the addition of Avatar at Disney makes sense.
Disney has recently announced their plans to add Avatar, the highest grossing film of all-time, to their Orlando, Florida theme park. Obviously this is a move to compete against the extraordinary success that Universal Studios has been experiencing with the highest grossing franchise of all-time, Harry Potter. But this has us wondering as well: Is this a smart move by Disney or a move of desparation?
Disney is known for its great characters, storytelling, songs, and dialogue; Avatar really had none of that. Avatar doesn't have the characters that kids want to be at Halloween time like Harry, Hermione, or Luke Skywalker and Indiana Jones. There are no memorable lines like "The boy who lived, come to die!" or "All this time? ...Always" or even "Luke, I am your Father." But what Avatar did have was an incredible cinematic experience that had us 'ooohing' and 'ahhhing' the whole way through.
What about merchandise? The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has their infamous wands from Ollivander's and chocolate frogs from Honeydukes; Star Wars has light sabers; and Indiana Jones even has a cool hat and whip. Does Avatar have anything in the way of products that can be sold to generate an income?
Families from around the world have planned their vacation and flocked to Orlando to experience the wonderous world of J.K. Rowling. Visit Dumbledore's office, experience Butterbeer, pumpkin juice, and eat in the Three Broomsticks or have a drink in the Hog's Head. How will Disney showcase that type of experience and create a desire to visit the Na'vi and the Tree of Life?
We also announced that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is looking into the possibility of an expansion in a couple of short years in order to create Diagon Alley, and a Gringotts cart ride, which will additionally add to the overall desire to enter the wizarding world. But the Avatar experience is five years away and will be relying heavily on the success of the sequel due out in theaters in 2014.
What are your thoughts? Can Disney put together the Avatar franchise and draw the crowds and success the way that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has done for Universal? Let us know in the comments below.