Universal Studios Hollywood Adds Cutting-Edge Movie-Making Special Effects…


From ‘The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift’ and ‘King Kong’ to Studio Tour in Spring ’06, Casts Oscar(R) and Emmy(R) Winner Whoopi Goldberg in a New Studio Tour Video Narration

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., Feb. 22 /PRNewswire/ — Hollywood’s longest-running hit is about to get a rousing re-make.

The Studio Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood, which has taken over 125 million visitors behind the scenes of the movie and television industry’s biggest hits, will get dramatic enhancements in Spring 2006, including new attractions showcasing “The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift” and “King Kong,” lively new video narration by Oscar(R) and Emmy(R)-winning superstar Whoopi Goldberg, “virtual studio guide” appearances from “Today” show star Al Roker, “Access Hollywood” hosts Nancy O’Dell and Billy Bush, and the opportunity to see more working TV and movie sets than ever before, including sets from “Crossing Jordan” and the top-rated “CSI: Crime Show Investigation.”

The enhancements represent the most sweeping changes made to the Studio Tour in over a decade and the greatest number of new additions to the world-famous attraction since the first trams rolled along the landmark Universal backlot in 1964.

The new visually spectacular chase sequence inspired by the much anticipated “Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift” is sure to become a Studio Tour blockbuster. Utilizing advanced robotics and state-of-the-cinematic-art computer generated “previsualization” technology, the new tram feature will thrust guests into close-up range of the pulse-pounding, rubber-burning underground world of street racing. Robotic racers will dazzle guests with an awesome “in your face” display of explosive action via large scale motion control simulation, then surprise and enthrall with a dexterous “automotive dance demonstration” of intricate programming set to a hip-hop beat.

Whoopi Goldberg’s incandescent star power will illuminate the Studio Tour with video introductions to the highlights of the behind-the-scenes experience, adding both a touch of whimsy and an insider’s professional perspective. Whoopi’s observations will be seen on the monitors placed in each Tram car and will augment the “live” narration provided by Universal’s famed Studio Tour Guides.

With help from the Oscar(R)-winning artisans of New Zealand’s Weta Workshop Ltd., Studio Tour guests will experience an update of a classic film technique as they pass within feet of “King Kong’s” S.S. Venture tramp steamer, an exact replica of the film’s “bigature” prop. (“Bigatures” are highly-detailed miniatures which can be filmed up close and manipulated in ways not possible with either a full-size prop nor a digital recreation. This big-miniature offers the ultimate in realism when combined with traditional and digital effects.) Against a panoramic backdrop of the primordial environs of Skull Island, guests will glimpse the ship as it navigates through dense marine fog, while their tram shudders to the deafening, primal roar of “The Eighth Wonder of the World.”

Immersion in an authentic Hollywood experience continues aboard the Studio Tour as guests traverse the original movie sets where Steven Spielberg filmed his blockbuster, “War of the Worlds.” Studio Tour trams pass through a small town devastated by an elaborately choreographed 747 jetliner crash, dramatically surrounded by still-smoking wreckage and shattered debris. In true Hollywood fashion, the “War of the Worlds” set is sandwiched among original sets from “Jurassic Park: The Lost World,” the snow-covered town of Whoville from “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” and the Psycho house and Bates motel from the classic thriller, “Psycho.” Several decades of blockbuster movie history are crossed in just a few hundred yards.

“Flash Flood,” which simulates the wrath of Mother Nature during a torrential down pour — pelting the tram with “movie rain,” and culminating in a devastating flash flood visual effect — will become an even wetter experience as thousands of gallons of water are added to heighten the drama. And who better than to introduce this meteorological marvel than “Today’s” popular weatherman, Al Roker, who will provide a video cue for the deluge.

The introduction of the new Studio Tour experience comes as Universal Studios enjoys a prolonged period of capacity film and television production. With an unprecedented number of movies and episodic television productions keeping the standing sets and sound stages humming, guests will be advised to stay on the look-out for the casts and crew of such productions as “Crossing Jordan,” the top-rated “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” or a constantly changing roster of major motion pictures.

Access Hollywood’s popular hosts Nancy O’Dell and Billy Bush will co-host the pre-show video presentation for the Studio Tour, celebrating the memorable moments in Universal’s 90-year film history, unearthing rarely seen outtakes and bloopers from the Universal film vault and other behind-the-scenes features designed to set up the experience for Universal guests.

Universal Studios Hollywood is the world’s largest movie studio and theme park. Featuring such unique and groundbreaking attractions as “Revenge of the Mummy-The Ride,” “Shrek 4-D,” “Terminator 2: 3D,” “Jurassic Park-The Ride” and the world-renowned behind-the-scenes Studio Tour, Universal Studios Hollywood has matured into a full day, movie-based theme park.

Universal Studios Hollywood (www.universalstudioshollywood.com) is a unit of Universal Parks & Resorts, a division of Universal Studios, a part of NBC Universal. NBC Universal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric, with 20% controlled by Vivendi Universal.

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