Today it was announced that Universal Pictures and Legendary Entertainment will enter into a multi-year film partnership, including cross promotional support reaching out to the world of theme parks. Universal will market, co-finance and distribute Legendary films for five years beginning in 2014.
The announcement was made by Universal Pictures Chairman Adam Fogelson and Co-Chairman Donna Langley and Legendary Entertainment Chairman and CEO Thomas Tull. “Legendary has demonstrated a keen ability to identify and acquire powerful fresh intellectual property based ideas, match them with strong filmmakers and turn them into blockbuster hits,” said Fogelson and Langley. “The Universal team is thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Legendary in turning those ideas into the best and most successful versions of themselves around the world.”
Specifically mentioned as an important part of the deal’s terms, Universal and Legendary will seize opportunities to expand Legendary’s franchises and intellectual property into Universal’s theme parks.
“Legendary continues to prove that big ideas are relevant and profitable with our global movie-going audience. We couldn’t be more thrilled to embrace the challenges and changing marketplace with Thomas and his team and we are also excited about what opportunities this will bring to our Theme Parks around the world,” said Ron Meyer, President and COO, Universal Studios.
With this agreement, Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood are to see appearances by blockbuster Legendary franchises. But could this include the worlds of Batman and Superman?
Christopher Nolan’s hugely successful Batman series (“Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight,” and “The Dark Knight Rises”) as well as the recent “Man of Steel” movie and 2006’s “Superman Returns” are all under the Legendary Entertainment umbrella – though technically they are Warner Brothers films. And with Disney firmly owning and promoting Marvel now, it’s not hard to imagine that the the DC comics universe would be a worthy replacement for the Islands of Adventure area.
It’s a nice idea, but there is a catch: Six Flags theme parks have featured DC Comics characters for many years under an exclusive licensing agreement with Warner Brothers Consumer Products. The new deal with Legendary blurs that line if they continue to promote those properties moving forward, but is unlikely to mean full scale DC-based attractions headed for Universal’s parks.
Much more likely to appear in the parks are other films in Legendary’s film library also includes Pacific Rim, 300, Clash of the Titans, Inception, The Hangover series, and the upcoming Godzilla, among others, many of which can easily be envisioned as theme park attractions, along with any future Legendary/Universal partnership movies.
“We are very excited to be in business with Thomas and Legendary,” said Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal. “The partnership is a perfect fit for both companies and I am confident that together we will be in an even better position to deliver compelling, profitable entertainment content to a global audience for years to come.”
Note: This article was edited from its original published form to more clearly state the terms of the new agreement between Universal and Legendary.