Understanding theme park licensing

Imagination Connoisseur, Omar 94, asks how theme parks from one entertainment conglomerate are able to have rides and attractions featuring characters and film properties from rival companies.

Hi Rob,

This may or may not be your expertise, but I’ve always been curious about this.

Universal and Disney have theme parks, with rides and attractions from various movies and tv shows. However, they can be from movies and tv shows made by other studios.

Before buying Lucasfilm, Disney had rides and attractions for Star Wars and Indiana Jones, even though Fox made Star Wars and Paramount made Indiana Jones. Before buying Fox, Disney created Pandora: The World Of Avatar, even though Fox made Avatar at the time. There’s the Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror, even though CBS made the original Twilight Zone. There’s others, but those are a few examples of Disney.

Universal has The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter, even though Warner Bros made the Harry Potter movies. Fox made The Simpsons, well before Disney bought Fox, but Universal has The Simpsons Ride. Universal still has the Spider-Man and Hulk rides, even though Disney now owns Marvel. There are other examples, but those are some.

I always wondered how Disney and Universal were able to do that for their theme parks.

Thanks, live long and prosper,


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