When Universal Studios Hollywood opens the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction April 7, the magic will be in the details. From carts selling Butterbeer to faithful recreations of Ollivander’s wand shop, the Universal team aims to ensure a fully immersive experience — right down to fake owl droppings on the ground of the Owlery, where lifelike birds perch.
Likewise, this summer, the studio will leave no dark corner unexamined with “The Walking Dead” featuring replica props, animatronic walkers and detailed sets and costumes from the top-rated AMC series. Likewise, this summer, the studio will leave no dark corner unexamined to drive fans of the “The Walking Dead” nearly full Shane in a walk-through attraction featuring replica props, animatronic walkers and detailed sets and costumes from the top-rated AMC series
The theme-park experiences are examples of the studios’ continuing trend to repurpose the most successful content across platforms.
On Wizarding World, supervising art director Alan Gilmore, who oversaw the original attraction in Universal Studios Orlando when it opened in 2010, has looked after the Hollywood version, as well. Gilmore served as art director on two of the Harry Potter films, “Prisoner of Azkaban” and “Goblet of Fire,” as well as on such movies as “World War Z.”
“We approached it almost like a film in its own right,” notes Gilmore. “We scripted it; we storyboarded it — and we picked the most iconic details to include in that story.” The Wizarding World features props from the movies, such as Hermione’s dress from the Yule Ball in “Goblet of Fire.” And every detail has the approval of “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling. Notes Gilmore, “Everything we create has to go through her filter so it’s authentic to the world.”
For “The Walking Dead,” which has seen previous Halloween-themed attractions at the theme park, the upcoming exhibit has the involvement of the show’s creatives, including producer-director Greg Nicotero and his special effects company, KNB EFX.
Vows Larry Kurzweil, president of Universal Studios Hollywood: “We’re taking its intensity to the next level.”
Universal plans to bring the same attention to detail to an upcoming walk-through attraction based on the AMC series “The Walking Dead,” set to open this summer. And just as Rowling was involved in “Wizarding World,” the new attraction has the involvement of the show’s creative team, including producer/director Greg Nicotero and his special effects company, KNB Efx.
It will feature props replicated from the series, animatronic walkers and detailed set and costumes. Says Larry Kurzweil, president of Universal Studios Hollywood, “We’re taking its intensity to the next level by collaborating with the show’s award-winning production team to create an authentic living representation of the series that can only be experienced at Universal Studios Hollywood.”