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Friday, December 14, 2012

Avatarland Pushes Forward In DAK...Still?...Why?

Avatar - Original Concept Art

In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel a few weeks back, Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman (and rumored to be on the short list of names for the upcoming Disney CEO vacancy) Tom Staggs reaffirmed Disney's commitment to build a land based on James Cameron's Avatar in Disney's Animal Kingdom park in Walt Disney World. The completion would be sometime later in this decade with a 2017 date being thrown out there. Disney's scheme to build an Avatarland is now over a year old and Disney fans have complained mightily about the idea for perfectly valid reasons.

True, Cameron's Avatar movie is the all time box office champ on not by a small margin. The film pulled in over two billion dollars at the box office. Two more Avatar sequels are in the works. But it's not a movie in any way associated with Disney and to build anything around Avatar Disney would have to license the property from Cameron and Fox.

I'm not a Disney insider or corporate genius but the question remains - Why? - when Disney's loyal fans are so dead set against the concept. And the outcries have become even louder following Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm and the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. Why not develop WDW expansion based on those popular and highly profitable franchises. Disney now owns them so they wouldn't have to split profits with anyone. Disney could make Indiana Jones work in DAK especially with a backdrop of Expedition Everest. Anything Disney could do to expand the Star Wars presence in Disney Hollywood Studios would have fans buzzing for years in anticipation.

Avatar was an impressive visual movie but I find it rather souless and, for me anyway, just hasn't held up to the test of time. I could care less about Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 being released. I bought the Avatar Blu-Ray when it came out, watched it once, then sold it knowing full well that I really have no desire to see it again (unlike Indy and Star Wars which most movie fans have seen countless times). As Al Lutz mentioned in his recent rant against Avatarland, where is the merchandising leg for Avatar? It just doesn't translate into cash registers ringing in merchandise sales.

There have been rumors of clashes between James Cameron (known for impressive ego) and Disney imagineers. To this point, it appears that everything related to Avatarland is in the conceptualization phase. Let's hope it stays that way.

In the meantime, Disney, if you want to ramp up fans for future changes to Walt Disney World... start talking Star Wars and Indiana Jones. You won't be sorry. PS... Thanks for keeping Avatar talk 3000 miles away from Disneyland. Marvel Universe would be much more inviting.

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