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Being a movie and TV star is pretty cool. You make pretty good money, which means you don't have to work all the time. The work you do is usually fun, and, if your movies and TV shows are popular, they can stand the test of time, which means you leave a legacy behind. Eric Stonestreet has both a hit TV show in Modern Family and he's a voice in The Secret Life of Pets movies which have made over $1 billion at the box office.
However, while being immortalized on the screen is one thing, there's something a little different about seeing something you worked on made physical in a way that other people can enjoy it in entirely new ways. That is the theme park attraction. The Secret Life of Pets is the newest successful franchise from Illumination animation and it's reached such levels of success that the property has its own attraction currently under construction at Universal Studios Hollywood. With the release of The Secret Life of Pets 2 on Blu-ray, I had a chance to speak with actor Eric Stonestreet, who provides the voice for Duke in the movies, and he told me being part of a attraction like this was a "bucket list" item for him. Stonestreet said...
I was excited. That's a bucket list type thing a check mark for every actor standing like,‘hold on, I’m gonna be part of an amusement park ride, that’s so cool.’ So whatever it’s gonna be I’m good.
I asked Eric Stonestreet how much he knew about the upcoming attraction and the answer was, surprisingly little. And that's considering the fact that he's already done voice over work for it. Near the end of his dialogue recording for The Secret Life of Pets 2, they included the work for the new attraction. While Stonestreet isn't expecting a major E-ticket (if I can borrow a term from the "other" theme park guys) attraction, he expects it will be something really good that will fit with the movies.
I don’t really know that much. I think it’s kind of a combo ride from what I can tell. But they didn’t really tell us a tremendous amount about it. I don’t know how much of it was still in the planning phases and stuff like that. Down at Universal Studios Hollywood, there’s not a tremendous amount of space up there so I don’t think it's going to be this big giant roller coaster through New York City on a dog catcher truck or anything like that. But I think it will be awesome I think it will be in the spirit of the movie.
It has to be said, a roller coaster that sends you flying through New York City on a dog catcher truck, a sequence from the first Secret Life of Pets movie, sounds absolutely awesome. There may not be space for it at Universal Studios Hollywood, but, you know, Universal Orlando Resort just announced a third theme park at that location, maybe Stonestreet's idea can find space there.
By "combo ride" I'm guessing Eric Stonestreet means that the attraction will likely combine some sort of ride architecture with viewing screens, probably in 3D. Several Universal Studios Hollywood attractions use this combination. As the actor says, the theme park in California doesn't have a great deal of space, and this structure allows many attractions to feel much bigger than they are.
When the attraction was first announced, it was confirmed to have some sort of actual ride system. Some of the Universal Studios Hollywood locations, like The Simpsons Ride and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem use motion simulation combined with 3D, so the ride never "goes" anyplace. It would appear this ride will be a little different, but we still don't have many details as to how.
We do have a name, however. The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash is what the future attraction will be called. While it may not follow the characters from the movies in a run away dog catcher truck, it will likely still follow them throughout the movie's version of New York City, and let you hang out with Max, Duke, Snowball, and the rest.
No opening date for The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash has been set. I would guess it will arrive in time for next summer's vacation season. The Secret Life of Pets 2 is now available in Digital HD and on Blu-ray.