Disney gambles on Avatar theme park, 8 years after hit movie
NEW YORK - Disney has wagered a reported $500 million that people will line up for a new theme-park attraction based on the 2009 movie "Avatar," which has largely faded from pop-culture consciousness.
The new park, based on the movie's bioluminescent world of Pandora, represents a major gamble, even by Disney standards. Disney is racing to catch up with rival Universal Studios, whose hit Harry Potter park opened in 2010.
The "Avatar" attraction, formally known as "Pandora - World of Avatar," opens May 27 at Disney's Animal Kingdom park in Florida. But there won't be an "Avatar" sequel until at least 2020.
Disney wants to prove it can also turn its newer cultural properties, which include "Star Wars" and the Marvel superhero franchise, into popular park attractions.
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