×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Significant ‘Star Wars’ Presence Planned for Disney Theme Parks

The Walt Disney Co. plans for “a far greater ‘Star Wars’ presence” in its theme parks, company chief Bob Iger said Tuesday.

The first look at new attractions based on the sci-fi franchise, beyond “Star Tours” that currently operates at several of its parks, will be revealed next year, Iger said during a conference call with analysts to discuss Disney’s record third quarter results.

The move comes as Disney is readying to release a new “Star Wars” film in theaters starting Dec. 18, 2015, that J.J. Abrams is currently directing.

Lucasfilm and Disney also will host Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim on April 16-19, while “Star Wars” is expected to have a major presence at the D23 Expo, Aug. 14-16, again from the Anaheim Convention Center.

Disney opted not to inject more “Star Wars” into its parks until its $4 billion acquisition of the company was complete. Deal also gives it the Indiana Jones franchise, already represented by a ride and stunt show at Disney’s resorts.

During the call, Iger said when Disney now decides to build new attractions, “the likelihood of their success is greater” when they’re branded. “When we grow ‘Star Wars” presence, which we will do significantly, you will see better bets being made that will pay off for us than were made in the past,” adding that leveraging the collection of popular franchises and properties that the company owns for rides and experiences will deliver “better returns than we saw in the past.”

SEE ALSO: Disney Reveals Look of ‘Avatar’ Theme Park at Walt Disney World

Disney has enjoyed a considerable uptick in attendance after the introduction of new rides and themed lands designed around its popular film properties. The “Cars”-themed land at California Adventure, which was part of a $1 billion overhaul of that park, has been a major draw to that park since it opened; an expansion of Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom is now complete and has guests lining up for hours to ride the “Seven Dwarfs Mine Train” ride in Orlando.

“Toy Story” themed lands are now also attracting guests at Disney resorts in Hong Kong and Paris, while “Avatar” rides are being built inside Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, also in Orlando.

“These are attractions that pull people from I’m going to go to a Disney park someday to I want to go this year,” said Disney chief financial officer Jay Rasulo, during the call.

Although ESPN is a major moneymaker for Disney overall, the company has a limited presence inside the company’s parks. It does operate several ESPN Zone restaurants at its Downtown Disney entertainment complexes.

“In general, the experience people want is more of a storytelling experience, not necessarily a sports experience,” Iger said. “The presence (of ESPN at the parks) doesn’t seem to be that obvious.”

When asked if Disney was looking to broker new licensing deals with other franchise owners for attractions the way it did with James Cameron’s “Avatar,” Iger dismissed the notion, citing properties owned by Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm,

“We don’t have to license from third parties,” he said. “We own them all.”

More Film

  • Writers Guild Blasts CAA, WME for

    Writers Guild Blasts Talent Agencies CAA, WME for 'Soaring' Profits

    The Writers Guild of America has singled out Hollywood’s largest talent agencies, William Morris Endeavor and Creative Artists Agency, for allegedly soaring profits. The WGA, in an acrimonious negotiation over proposed new rules on how agencies represent writers, issued a report called “agencies for sale” on Monday morning — a few hours before a fifth [...]

  • MGM logo

    MGM Hires Robert Marick to Expand Consumer Products

    Metro Goldwyn Mayer has hired industry veteran Robert Marick as executive VP of global consumer products and experiences. In his new role, Marick is responsible for overseeing the expansion of MGM’s traditional merchandise, interactive and consumer products business. He’s also developing a global strategy with a focus on core consumer products licensing, digital and gaming, [...]

  • Robert Iger and Rupert Murdochcredit: Disney

    Wall Street Applauds as Disney Nears Finish Line on Fox Acquisition

    Wall Street is rooting for Disney as the media giant reaches the finish line this week in its 15-month quest to acquire most of Rupert Murdoch’s film and TV empire. Fox shareholders, on the other hand, are being a little more cautious. Disney is poised to close the $71.3 billion deal that took many twists [...]

  • Personal Tales From Hong Kong, China

    Personal Tales From Hong Kong and China Among the Asia Film Financing Forum Projects

    A brace of personal tales from China and Hong Kong are among the 23 projects vying for attention at the 17th Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum. Liu Miaomiao is a rare female ethnic Hui Muslim filmmaker. She came to international prominence with 1993’s “Chatterbox” that won the President of the Italian Senate’s Gold Medal [...]

  • Josie Ho Makes 2019 the Year

    Josie Ho Makes 2019 the Year She Takes Risks in Her Film Choices

    Josie Ho vows to master the art of calculated risk in the year 2019. As an actress and film producer, she is conscious of the choices of projects she makes: appearing in the new film by Japanese hotshot director Shinichiro Ueda, producing a new documentary feature while developing some 10 titles in the pipeline of [...]

  • FilMart: Big Data, Content Key to

    FilMart: Big Data, Content Key to iQIYI's Online Ambitions

    Tech and data play a huge role for iQIYI, China’s second-largest streaming platform, as a way to innovate and step out ahead of its competitors, iQIYI founder and CEO Yu Gong explained in a keynote speech Monday at FilMart. “We don’t see a lot of innovation-driven entertainment companies yet. We want to be the one,” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content