Spherical Film Collage Lights Up Universal Orlando Resort

John Landis, director of genre classics such as An American Werewolf in London and Michael Jackson’s music video “Thriller,” is serving as creative consultant for an ambitious movie-themed nighttime entertainment show at the Universal Studios theme park in Orlando.

Universal 360 – A Cinesphere Spectacular premieres July 1 and presents of the most memorable moments in film history with some high-tech special effects. Combining more than 100 great movies, 360-degree spherical projection, lasers, pyrotechnic effects, digital mapping technology  and four enormous spheres spread across acres of waterfront at Universal Studios Florida, Universal 360 promises to be a one-of-a-kind experience.

“We’re attempting to take the magic of movies and use new technology to create a spectacular experience that goes beyond just seeing a movie,” said Landis.  “We want to create something that interacts with you and that happens around you.”

Jim Timon, senior vice president of entertainment for Universal Orlando Resort added, “We set out to create a new form of entertainment, an entirely new way to view and appreciate film.”

The spheres, which are 30-feet tall and 36-feet wide, float in the park’s central lagoon and serve as giant outdoor projection screens.  Digital mapping technology allows Universal to project supplemental images and effects on buildings surrounding the lagoon-transforming entire buildings into walls of flame.  The show also features a specially developed soundtrack broadcast through more than 300 outdoor speakers.

“We are creating a nightly mega-event that will sweep tens of thousands of people at a time into the emotion and drama behind some of America’s most popular movie moments,” said Timon.

A 15-minute collage of film clips serves as the centerpiece of the show. The clips come from all times and genres: from black-and-white classics to newer releases, including comedies, dramas, thrillers, horror films and more.

 Ã¢â‚¬Å“I like spectacles-especially mass spectacles,” Landis said.  “When they are done well — whether it’s a circus or a political rally or a theme park show-they can be an amazing communal experience.  It’s not so easy to create something that touches people emotionally.  But we’re using the power of many movies and we’re editing them together and combining them with great special effects to create what we believe will be a series of very powerful moments.”

Universal 360 – A Cinesphere Spectacular
Where: Universal Studios Florida, Orlando
When: Nightly, Premiering July 1, 2006
For More Information: www.universalorlando.com/usf_index.html

NOTE: If you experience this new attraction, please post your comments here so fellow genre travelers will know if it’s worth going to see.

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About the author

As The Genre Traveler, Carma Spence loves to view the world through Genre-Coloured glasses. In other words, she sees the world through a lens of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, where trash cans can be Daleks in disguise and neighborhood forests can harbor faeries and sprites. Magic realism is real! Or at least you can choose to see the world that way to add to the fun and awe of life.