Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Lord of the Rings - Is It Worth The Gamble?

By Justin Martin

A few months ago rumors began swirling yet again of theme park possibilities for the Lord of the Rings franchise.

We heard that the two major players in the industry, Disney and Universal, were both possibly involved in attempting to acquire the rights for the massively popular film franchise. But would those dollars from the box office turn into dollars for one of the most successful theme park companies in the world?

Personally, I believe not, and here is exactly why.

Age Gap
The original trilogy was released between 2001 and 2003, after that we had not seen any more films to the franchise until 2012 and now with the release of “The Desolation of Smaug” in 2013.  That’s a nine-year gap. It never allowed for an attachment to the franchise like Harry Potter did.

Harry potter “grew up” with most people over an 11-year period, without any breaks. People don’t have a much of an attachment to the Lord of the Rings as they do Potter which I believe is a huge reason for the Wizarding World’s success at Islands of Adventure.

After watching most of the Lord of the Rings films a few years ago, I hardly can remember the names of the characters, let alone the locations of the film. Characters are the driving force in the story while in a theme park locations are what set the mood.

In Harry Potter, the main characters name is the title, and his friends and enemies all have easy to remember names.  And while there are many locations, there is one iconic location, Hogwarts. Lord of the Rings seems to span the globe and it would be nearly impossible to find a location that would be most iconic to tell a complete story in a small space for a land.

And as for characters, there are far and few memorable characters let alone characters the average movie go’er would remember.

Family Friendly Appeal
When JK Rowling wrote the Harry Potter books, they were intended to range from a family to adult audiences. The Lord of the Rings books are intended for a much more mature audience.

When creating a theme park, you design them with families in mind. Why, because in most cases families come in groups of 4, Parents and children. You are going to get more attendance, and ticket sales from families entering through your gates than gearing an enormous amount of real estate to a mature audience that brings in teens/ young adults without families, and where families would be less inclined to bring their children.

In the end there are many reasons why Lord of the Rings wouldn’t work, as well as a few strong arguments that would show why it would work. But in the end, there is one film left to be made before it is all over, and no hint of any agreement has been made to create a land.

While it would please the fans to have second breakfast, these two theme park giants might be better off looking in a different direction for intellectual property. Well why not build an entire park for Lord of the Rings? Find out why boutique parks might not be the best idea next week!

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