Universal Orlando may have to choose between Jason Bourne or James Bond

Universal Orlando may have to choose between Jason Bourne or James Bond
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When Terminator 2: 3-D closed last year, Universal mentioned that the attraction replacing it would be “an all-new live action experience based on a high-energy Universal franchise.”

Rumors have ranged from Sing! to Star Trek to Wicked to Pitch Perfect to Jason Bourne. The Star Trek rumor, first reported by industry insider Jim Hill, still seems to be the backup option, but the latest whispers now point to Universal using Star Trek for the rumored new theme park opening on Universal’s newly acquired Lockheed Martin property.

Back at the T2: 3D site, by early this year the rumors seemed to be settling upon Jason Bourne as the replacement. The show was imagined to be a mix of practical effects and screen-based ones, very similar to T2: 3D, but without the use of 3D glasses. Just like T2, the new show would feature live actors performing stunts inside the theater.

While Bourne is a Universal franchise, there’ve been rumors since well before T2’s closing of Universal's interest in bringing James Bond to the parks.

Eon Productions, the British film company that owns the rights to James Bond and has had a direct hand in producing all 25 films in the series, is infamous for extremely demanding requirements with the franchise. Many pointed to that as proof that Universal wouldn’t be able to get the theme park rights to Bond. Some insiders have even shared details on Disney’s unsuccessful attempt to secure the Bond rights for its now-closed car stunt show at Hollywood Studios.

Late last week, Deadline broke a story later confirmed by numerous outlets that Universal Pictures has secured the international distribution and home entertainment rights for the 25th installment of the Bond film franchise, slated for theaters late next year. The deal still gives MGM, which Eon partnered with a few years back on the new film, many of the film’s rights including digital and worldwide television distribution.

The agreement now has led many respected insiders to speculate on whether Universal may have also secured the theme park rights. Universal is known for their work with hard-to-please content developers, including the Seuss family and, most notably, J.K. Rowling. Those previous partnerships might’ve been enough for Eon to finally greenlight a Bond-themed attraction for Orlando.

If current rumors are correct, Universal will merely update the Bourne attraction concept substituting Bond. The attraction exit might also include an updated gift shop and a bar where all the drinks will be “shaken, not stirred.” Some Bond merchandise is already for sale at Universal Studios Florida, in their film-themed gift shop in the New York area of the park.

Though a Star Trek display is already in the former T2 gift shop, having some interpret the display as a hint at what will be coming to the former attraction.

It’s likely that if Universal has secured the theme park rights, they’ll copy the attraction across numerous parks, including Orlando, Hollywood, Osaka, and the upcoming Universal Studios Beijing park.

In their announcement last year, Universal confirmed that new attraction would open in 2019. That is both the same time period as the new Bond film will be released and is when Disney will open their new Star Wars themed land at Hollywood Studios. Universal has remained silent on what will be coming to the former T2 space though an announcement is expected sometime this year.


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