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Theme parks are never finished and there's always going to be something new on the horizon. While it used to be that theme park attractions came long after movie properties had shown long term viability, that's frequently not the case anymore. The Secret Life Of Pets has become the newest example of that, as the title will be getting its own attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood, an announcement that comes two months before the movie sequel is set to debut.
The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash will open at Universal's Southern California theme park sometime in 2020. While only a few details about the ride were revealed, one very interesting one is that it will actually be an attraction that actually uses ride vehicles on a track. With so many new attractions at multiple theme parks being focused on 3D glasses and screens, its nice to see the occasional traditional dark ride still show up now and then.
However, it sounds like the plan for The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash is to make more than simply a traditional dark ride, it's being called an immersive experience, which is an oft used phrase with theme parks these days, that will see guests in the role of stray puppies, that will join Secret Life of Pets characters, Max, Snowball, and more, as everybody tries to find a permanent home.
There's no question that The Secret Life of Pets was a very successful movie. It grossed over $875 million at the box office in 2016 and spawned the sequel that will be out in June. It's far from shocking Universal Studios jumped on this one. The Secret Life of Pets did better at the box office than the first Despicable Me movie, and that franchise also spawned a Universal Studios attraction before it spawned two successful sequels and an even more successful spinoff.
And speaking of Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, the new Secret Life of Pets attraction will make its home right next door to its fellow Illumination property, between it and the Minion themed Super Silly Fun Land play area. That area currently contains a few Despicable Me themed food and merchandise locations. I reached out to Universal Studios Hollywood and have confirmed that the new attraction won't require the closure of any of the existing locations, even temporarily.
Even though the park may not have all the space in the world, it's doing a great job dedicating a nice little corner of the park to Illumination. One wonders if an attraction dedicated to Sing, a movie that also made more than a half billion dollars, and has a sequel on the way, might be getting its own theme park show before long.
I would expect to see The Secret Life Of Pets: Off The Leash in about 12 months time, give or take as it will likely arrive before the summer vacation rush hits Universal Studios Hollywood.