When Universal first debuted Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories on May 8, 2012, it was part of an unprecedented push to introduce more new attractions in one calendar year than had ever been done in Universal Parks and Resorts’s five-odd-decade history. (The lagoon show’s 2012 brethren included an upgraded Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Superstar Parade, SpongeBob StorePants, Hollywood Drive-In Golf, a revamped Blue Man Group production, and, but of course, Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, in case you were curious.) And, as the name of the nighttime show might indicate, Cinematic Spectacular was meant to be Universal Studios Florida’s tie-in to that year’s Universal Pictures Centennial Anniversary Celebration, which was held all year long to, well, celebrate Universal’s 100th year of filmmaking.
Today, five-and-a-half years later, both of these points seem a bit on the quaint side: under parent company Comcast’s all-out spending spree, 2012’s new additions to Universal Orlando are rather tame, and Universal Pictures has now celebrated its 105th birthday, perhaps making Cinematic Spectacular a bit on the dated side. It just might be time to retire the lagoon show and replace it with something new, something befitting the company’s newly-expanded theming purview and correspondingly bigger checkbook.
Fortunately, Universal itself agrees, as it has just today announced that Cinematic Spectacular will no longer be running at the park (something which Hurricane Irma has helped speed along, as the storm damaged the show’s equipment, preventing it from returning for the rest of this year). Don’t worry, though – a newer (and, it sounds like, more sophisticated) production will be arriving for 2018, and though we don’t yet have any concrete specifics, the company has already painted a rather tantalizing picture:
A new nighttime lagoon show is coming to Universal Studios Florida that will include new animation featuring characters from favorite Universal attractions, a new storyline, new music, [and new] lighting and special effects. It will take Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories, which is now closed, to an entirely new level.
It’s interesting to note that Universal Studios Florida has a remarkably short list of lagoon productions; for a park that is 27-years-old, Cinematic Spectacular is only its third nighttime show (next-door Islands of Adventure, meanwhile, has never had a major, multi-year production across its 18-year history). Dynamite Nights Stunt Spectacular, a speed-boat-filled stunt show that was loosely inspired by the then-popular Miami Vice television series, opened with the park in June 1990 and lasted a whopping 10 years. While it’s not surprising that an ‘80s-centric production would be nixed for the new century, what is surprising is how long it took Universal to replace it; Universal 360: A Cinesphere Spectacular, directed by acclaimed filmmaker John Landis, didn’t land until 2006. The four giant, three-story-tall spheres that were floated out on the water and that displayed selected clips from Universal Pictures’s greatest hits set a new technological bar for the company, paving the way for Cinematic Spectacular’s grandeur and nostalgia-filled content both.
We cannot wait to see what, exactly, Universal has in store for us for 2018 – and beyond.