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Paramount's Great America "Media Plex" Front Gate Project

 

With all the news about California's Great America being sold it seems now is a good time to post some of the exclusive stuff I have on the park. Believe it or not, at one time Paramount had some big plans for Great America. Unfortunately none of them ever saw the light of day. While I was working as the creative director of the park we worked on some great concepts and ideas. This is one of my favorites...Ladies and Gentlemen I give you "Media Plex", a whole commercial/entertainment redevelopment of the front gate area. It had a real city walk vibe to it with all food, entertainment and retail themed around Paramount branded properties.

 

Hopefully the new owners of the park will stumble across this thread and steal some of these great ideas.

 

Shane

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Edited by robbalvey
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Very interesting. This is kind of what I'm wondering if this is what JMA could potentially do to integrate the stadium and park together rather than being 2 separate locations with a long walk of nothing between. This reminds me a lot of Universal's "City Walk" that I went through as I headed up to the park's gates. Now, an office complex (including Namco Bandai as one of the tenants) sits in that spot.

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Yes it is true that at one point there was an outdoor version of Flight of Fear that was supposed to go on the Whizzer site. Hypersonic was also originally slated to go on that same site. I am not sure why it was canned and shipped to PKD at the last minute since that is the time that I left Paramount to work for Six Flags in Oklahoma City.

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What I find interesting about the Media Plex is that they were planning to eliminate the front gate and use a pay-per-ride system. I wonder if this concept would have been successful if the other Paramount Parks would have seen something similar.

The entire park would not have been pay per ride. During the typical season the park would have continued to operate as usual but during the off seasson certain attractions would have operated on a pay per ride schedule such as the sky tower, IMAX, carousel and the "outer limits" attraction.

Edited by montezooma
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Yes it is true that at one point there was an outdoor version of Flight of Fear that was supposed to go on the Whizzer site. Hypersonic was also originally slated to go on that same site. I am not sure why it was canned and shipped to PKD at the last minute since that is the time that I left Paramount to work for Six Flags in Oklahoma City.

Very interesting. I always felt Paramount saw the park in a different way then other companies. Would have loved to see what the park would be like today with all those attractions.

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It's a shame that Paramount didn't move ahead with these plans, but my impression is that they never were comfortable with being in the theme-park business, anyway (based on what I saw at Kings Dominion during the Paramount years). I never could understand why the didn't exploit Star Trek a bit more in their parks--it was still a hot franchise at the time. The only Star Trek-themed ride I can think of was Borg Assimilator at Carowinds, and that was just the relocated Stealth in space drag.

Edited by cfc
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It's a shame that Paramount didn't move ahead with these plans, but my impression is that they never were comfortable with being in the theme-park business, anyway (based on what I saw at Kings Dominion during the Paramount years). I never could understand why the didn't exploit Star Trek a bit more in their parks--it was still a hot franchise at the time. The only Star Trek-themed ride I can think of was Borg Assimilator at Carowinds, and that was just the relocated Stealth in space drag.

 

Chuck-

 

Even though Paramount (Viacom) was the parent company, they made the parks division pay for all intellectual properties. The parks were directed from corporate to use the properties and then pay the license fees. There wasn’t a whole lot of cash left over after paying for the rights to the movie, the hardware and then the marketing. Viacom was also very protective of their prized properties such as Star Trek, Mission Impossible and Titanic and felt that those brands would be cheapened by being in regional theme parks. This is why you saw Star Trek developed into a stand alone attraction.

 

Eventually they did allow the parks to use the Star Trek brand but only as secondary namesake such as Borg. You never would have seen “Star Trek: the ride” under the ownership of Viacom.

 

You will see in an upcoming post that there was a lot of money spent developing a strong story line and theme for a Hyper Coaster at PGA which was then scrapped by Viacom and strict direction was given to brand it to a Paramount property.

 

Shane

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I Think it was cancelled cause they got Stealth in 2000. So they sent it to KD.

 

Plus if a 104ft wooden Coaster wasn't good, a Premier Rides LIM Launch & A Hypersonic Wouldn't have worked either there.

 

Actually, the story I heard (and I tend to believe) was that Stealth was not the huge success they had thought it was going to be. When Paramount saw that such a big thrill ride didn’t bring the crowds in that they had hoped they put the brakes on thrill rides and decided to go in a completely different direction…the direction of the family market. Hypersonic was then shipped to PKD and Stealth was given it’s walking papers. Since the market they decided to go after was families instead of thrill seeking teens the land that Stealth once occupied was developed into a family friendly water park.

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Shane,

I've heard that what became X-Flight and Batwing, were actually supposed to go to King's Island and Dominion before being sold to Six Flags at cut-rate prices because of the mechanical difficulties and low excitement level seen from Stealth. Do you know anymore on this?

 

Apparently, that's how King's Island got Firehawk up and running quickly... they dug out the old site plans, so I've heard.

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That's actually kinda unfortunate for CGA since I don't recall Paramount investing much into the parks after Boomerang Bay outside of Survivor.

 

The park invested fairly heavily in thrill rides during the 90s and it seemed to fare well. But what surprises me more is that Viacom refused to give their parks division a chance to advertise their own movies through the theme parks. Especially since WB did it with their superhero franchises and Disney/Universal do it for all their major rides.

 

I'm very excited to see the Speed Coaster concept.

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^Viacom insisted that Paramount Parks brand all their rides to movie themes but at the same time made the parks pay for the licenses which made it very difficult to pull off a decently themed ride since all the money went to paying for the ride hardware and the IP (intellectual properties) license fees.

 

A perfect example of this was Top Gun at Carowinds. It was originally supposed to be themed to the Godzilla movie that was coming out the same year the coaster debuted. Due to the astronomical fee that was associated with the “Godzilla” name, Carowinds could not afford to name the ride “Godzialla” and get a descent ride so, thankfully, the decision was made to go with the lower priced “Top Gun” theme and get a better ride.

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