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The Mummy coasters @ Universal Studios

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Just read this and find out what an amazing project it is:

7831982.jpg LOS ANGELES -- Turning to ancient catacombs and netherworld tombs, cash-strapped Vivendi Universal is spending about $80 million to develop two new rides based on the lucrative Mummy movie franchise, giving its Universal Studios theme park group an unexpected show of confidence. Universal says the new attraction -- an unusual fusion of high-speed roller coasting technology, pyrotechnic effects and space-age robotics -- is one of its most ambitious and technologically advanced to date. Revenge of the Mummy will open simultaneously at Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood in spring 2004. Coming amid uncertainty over the future of the theme park group, which has been up for sale along with other Universal holdings, and an economy that has clobbered the theme park industry, the decision to go forward with such a large-scale project surprised industry watchers. "The timing is curious," said Orlando-based theme park consultant Steve Baker. "It's extremely significant and shows great confidence in the business." War with Iraq, weak consumer confidence and falloff in travel since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have brought a steep decline in travel and tourism. That was underscored Thursday when Vivendi reported a 25 percent drop in theme park revenues in the first quarter of the year. Universal executives, however, said planning for the attraction began 10 years ago -- long before the current downturn. Economic slowdowns present a real dilemma for the capital-intensive theme park companies, which must continue to invest in new attractions and rides to keep customers coming back year after year. "We have huge confidence in the business and we're long-term players," said Tom Williams, chairman of Universal Parks & Resorts. "We believe the timing of this is going to work out perfectly. We've seen an uptick in consumer confidence, which closely correlates with theme park attendance. The economy is improving." The Mummy ride is the latest volley in a 12-year rivalry between Universal and Walt Disney Co., which also is opening an ambitious space attraction at Walt Disney World's Epcot theme park later this year. Disney also plans a Himalayan-themed roller coaster set to open at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom in 2006. In Anaheim, Calif., Disney is building the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, a $75 million ride set to open at California Adventure next year. "It's Coke/Pepsi," Baker said, "an arms race for sure." Revenge of the Mummy comes on top of more than $60 million Universal has already invested in attractions this year based on the animated hit movies Shrek and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. The 3-D Shrek attraction, which is based on the hit DreamWorks movie, opens next week at Universal Studios Hollywood and on June 12 at Universal Orlando. Universal executives have high hopes for Mummy, their most ambitious project since the $75 million Adventures of Spiderman debuted in 1999 at Islands of Adventure in Orlando. The ride is inspired by one of Universal's most successful move franchises, continuing a tradition of creating attractions from its library of hit films, including E.T., Back to the Future and Backdraft. The 1999 movie The Mummy and its even more popular sequel in 2001, have generated more than $1 billion in box office receipts. It was designed in close collaboration with The Mummy director Stephen Sommers and his creative partner Bob Ducsay. The two are currently worked on another Mummy sequel. "It extends the ideas of the film into a different world," said Ducsay, executive producer of the Mummy Returns. "It's a great complimentary vision of the original motion picture." Billed as "psychological thrill ride," Mummy will hurtle passengers through Egyptian sets, chambers, passageways and tombs in vehicles that move backward and forward. During the ride, which will last about five minutes, riders will pass through a "ceiling of flame" that hovers inches above them and encounter a skeleton warrior who leaps on the rider's vehicle. The skeleton uses technology similar to that of the Mars robotic range vehicle. "It's different than anything we've done before," said Scott Trowbridge, vice president of design and creative development for Universal Parks & Resorts. "This will create a whole new threshold for theme park attractions." To help create an authentic environment, from golden amulets to "Canopic Jars" containing the remains of royalty, Universal's ride producers traveled to Egypt and The British Museum in London. Universal designers also worked with the German firm Kouka, which makes robots for cars, to develop some of the robotic mummies. "This is the DNA of the Universal brand," said Wyman Roberts, chief marketing officer of Universal Parks and Resorts. "Bringing movies to life is what we're really about."
Source: Athough the universal group has money problems they still build such a huge and amazing rides. They always come with something new for in the themepark industry. I really have to get there in the coming years!

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