Riding high on the global success of Despicable Me, the films’ makers have teamed up with theme park engineers to produce a tourist ride designed to immerse visitors in Minion Mayhem.
The Minions – cute little yellow characters who speak amusing gibberish – have emerged as stars in their own right from the two movies, which have earned $US1.5 billion ($A1.61 billion) worldwide.
Paris studio Illumination Entertainment is giving them their own film, The Minions due out in July 2015, before a third Despicable Me instalment in 2017.
Since 2012 the Minions, a huge source of related products, have had a ride dedicated to them at Universal’s theme park in Orlando, Florida.
Now they’ll get the Tinseltown treatment in Universal Studios Hollywood itself, with a ride twice as big as the Florida one, and equipped with the latest cutting-edge technology.
The idea came from Steve Burke, the head of NBCUniversal, after the success of the first Despicable Me film in 2010.
“It was not something we had thought about,” Chris Meledandri, the head of Illumination Entertainment, said.
“But of all the extensions of Despicable Me I think that modelising these characters with a theme park attraction may be the most exciting for us beyond doing the movie,” he added.
Nearly 20 minutes of new animated footage were created for the attraction, in which visitors are transformed into Minions themselves, by the magic of 3D video simulation.
The Hollywood version of the ride, opening on the weekend, takes 192 people at a time and, while the Orlando version only has Gru’s house, the West Coast one recreates his whole neighbourhood.
Visitors can also make a splash in Super Silly Fun Land, a water-play area – the park’s first dedicated to under-8s – inspired by the funfair in the first Despicable Me film.
The ride features the latest in video technology, allowing visitors to be “minionised” in a car which moves in synch with a film on a giant 3D screen. The projectors use the same custom lenses as those designed for NASA’s space telescope.
The hydraulic suspension is the most sophisticated Universal has ever used in a theme park.