Disney to announce deal for ‘Avatar’ theme park attractions


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The Walt Disney Co. is set to announce a major licensing deal to bring ‘Avatar’ attractions to its theme parks, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

The Burbank entertainment giant has secured the rights from 20th Century Fox movie studio, which released the 2009 blockbuster, and director James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment.


For Disney, the deal is significant because it usually relies on in-house content for its attractions. ‘Avatar,’ the highest grossing movie of all time, is expected to become a major component at various Disney parks, with the first such attraction debuting at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., said the source.

The two other major attractions that Disney parks based on non-Disney movies are ‘Indiana Jones’ and ‘Star Wars.’

Landing ‘Avatar’ is a huge coup for Disney, which missed out on securing the rights to the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise, which went to Comcast’s Universal Studios theme park in Florida and is a wildly successful attraction.

Like ‘Harry Potter,’ Disney is expected to create a whole experience around ‘Avatar,’ the hit movie about humans colonizing an alien moon. Cameron is expected to be heavily involved with Disney on designing the attractions.


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-- Claudia Eller and Joe Flint