Universal boards ‘Transformers’ ride

New attraction to hit theme parks in 2011

The Transformers are taking shape at Universal’s theme parks.

Universal Parks & Resorts has paired up with Hasbro and DreamWorks Pictures to produce a “Transformers” attraction at its parks in Hollywood and Singapore set to open in early 2011.

Ride will use 3-D HD footage with special effects, robotics and track to place humans in the middle of a war between the friendly Autobots and evil Decepticons, who can turn into cars, trucks, planes and other vehicles.

U declined to disclose just how much it will spend to produce the attraction, but company spent around $40 million to build “The Simpsons Ride,” which opened over the summer at its parks. “Transformers” could come with a higher pricetag.

The attraction will first open at Universal Studios Singapore, to be based at the multibillion-dollar Resorts World at Sentosa, before bowing in Hollywood. The Sentosa resort is skedded to open in 2010.

“Transformers” will replace the “Backdraft” attraction and special effects soundstages on the lower portion of U’s Hollywood park. Construction begins after Labor Day.

“ ‘Transformers’ was introduced in the United States in 1983 but traces its roots to Asia,” said Tan Hee Teck, CEO of Resorts World at Sentosa. “Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and Megatron are familiar names to Asian audiences, who grew up with the robot toys and love the movie.”

Deal continues U’s long relationship with Steven Spielberg, who serves as a creative consultant to the theme park division, and has helped develop “Jurassic Park: The Ride,” the “E.T. Adventure,” “Jaws” and “War of the Worlds” attractions.

It also expands U’s deal with Hasbro to turn the company’s toy brands into pics.

Landing “Transformers” should prove a coup for U, given that theme parks are dependent upon new attractions to lure visitors. Company’s “Simpsons Ride” this summer helped boost biz when congloms were worried that guests would stay home due to high gas prices and the souring economy.

U also teamed up with Warner Bros. to create a Harry Potter-themed environment set to open at Universal Orlando in 2010, which should also keep ticket sales humming.

Spielberg exec produced 2007’s “Transformers,” which earned $708 million worldwide, and is doing the same on the sequel, which Paramount will release June 26, with Michael Bay once again at the helm.

Gallery: Artist renderings of the upcoming Transformers ride

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