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HHN 24: The Walking Dead: End of The Line

Clive

aka Fallow
Staff member
Moderator
May 26, 2010
4,648
Bottom line, we just disagree on the role each group should play. If A&D didn't want WD, then to be honest Marketing wouldn't be doing their job if they didn't force this house to happen. You said it yourself, no other horror property has the pull of WD right now and Universal has the rights to produce a house for it. I think they learned from last year, and made it one mega house and dropped the WD scare zones (thankfully). Not certain why its so unappealing to A&D in the first place. The house will be completely different than last year.

I can assure you after WD they will be working very hard to get another property that has wide appeal. Marketing, not A&D, is the one that has to live with forecasts. And with attendance going up over the last few years, you can bet that forecasts will be going up as well. The execs that mark the HHN budgets are not going to take, "well A&D doesn't like it" or "we don't have WD anymore" as an excuse.
We may disagree, but apparently the talent that makes the event happen (and built it up to the reputation it enjoys and is riding on) agrees with me. Walking Dead is not a horror property - say it with me. That's why A&D doesn't want to do it - they know there's literally nothing more they can do with that property that hasn't been done (and given the budget and resources they have, can't really be done all that well). They didn't learn from last year - they just knew that they couldn't repeat themselves so obviously, so they had to throw in another gimmick (the mega house).

A&D doesn't want to work with Walkers or AMC's crazy restrictions anymore. It's not a property conducive to a theme park horror event - or any haunt at all. I don't know why that's so hard for you to understand...

I'm sure marketing will try - I'm arguing they're going to fail. There simply isn't another property that can live up to these inflated expectations that now exist. Guess what? HHN's budget has remained constant since 2010, regardless of its recent Walking Dead-fueled success. So what does that tell you?
 

Vyrus

The man with the master plan
Premium Member
Feb 11, 2010
6,577
Miami, FL
Can we just a get a tank in the house? I big freaking, honkin honest to god real tank in the house..and maybe even a scene with an old man getting his head sliced off...then it'll be a decent house...maybe....hopefully...oh who am I kidding, where's the beer :cheers:
 

Shucker

Rookie
Dec 5, 2012
445
A&D doesn't want to work with Walkers or AMC's crazy restrictions anymore. It's not a property conducive to a theme park horror event - or any haunt at all. I don't know why that's so hard for you to understand...
I guess then last year was a financial disaster for HHN since the property they focused on is not conducive for an event like this. Oh wait I dont think the numbers would agree with that. And please don't get in the discussion of money doesn't mean everything, HHN is event with the sole purpose of bringing in revenue for Universal. I get it you dont like the direction it has been taking the last few years, but many people have. And Universal will continue to grab IPs that will bring people in to spend more money. You may be right that there wont be another IP like WD, but they are going to try to find one, and as long as they have learned their lessons from the scare zones, then bring it on.
 

Lucky Planet

Veteran Member
Sep 23, 2013
3,430
Bottom line, we just disagree on the role each group should play. If A&D didn't want WD, then to be honest Marketing wouldn't be doing their job if they didn't force this house to happen. You said it yourself, no other horror property has the pull of WD right now and Universal has the rights to produce a house for it. I think they learned from last year, and made it one mega house and dropped the WD scare zones (thankfully). Not certain why its so unappealing to A&D in the first place. The house will be completely different than last year.

I can assure you after WD they will be working very hard to get another property that has wide appeal. Marketing, not A&D, is the one that has to live with forecasts. And with attendance going up over the last few years, you can bet that forecasts will be going up as well. The execs that mark the HHN budgets are not going to take, "well A&D doesn't like it" or "we don't have WD anymore" as an excuse.
honestly not trying to argue or anything, but what property would that be? really, think about it.
What could possibly bring the numbers WD brings? I'm serious, what do you think they can bring ?

the fact is WD are not really horror fans, maybe marketing will have to start doing really good video game houses, (and not horror games either) Im thinking really hard and I cant think of anything.

(Unless Marketing makes a Grand Theft Auto HHN house. Seeing how much people love it )

right now there is nothing horror wise that can bring that kind of money. WD is a fluke, their luck with WD might not be able to be repeated with something else.
Seriously unless they do something like a Grand Theft Auto game or something like Call Of Duty or Assassin’s Creed or something like that.

(Why am I mentioning games? Because Games like those are the only thing that has the same kind of huge fanbase as WD, no horror movie franchise or tv show has that kind of pull, Not Even horror games) If Marketing is so hungry for money they are going to have to make a GTA house somehow.
 

TylerDurden

Veteran Member
Oct 14, 2012
1,466
As condescending and unneccessary the wording in Jake's post was, I have to reluctantly agree with him. Marketing's job is to make Universal the most money. They have been having uprecedented attendance levels and at the end of the day, the company's goal is to make money. Walking Dead not attracting just horror fans is good because it expands the audience HHN attracts, therefore bringing in more money. Also, a marketable and successful IP will almost always sell more merchandise than original stuff. The Walking Dead is a solid way to expand HHN's fan base and at the end of the day, thats how you become successful im a financial sense. It just sucks that in this, and most other scenarios, financial success and creative success are two different things. But thats the price you pay for a company with as much growth and expansion as Universal.
 

Lucky Planet

Veteran Member
Sep 23, 2013
3,430
As condescending and unneccessary the wording in Jake's post was, I have to reluctantly agree with him. Marketing's job is to make Universal the most money. They have been having uprecedented attendance levels and at the end of the day, the company's goal is to make money. Walking Dead not attracting just horror fans is good because it expands the audience HHN attracts, therefore bringing in more money. Also, a marketable and successful IP will almost always sell more merchandise than original stuff. The Walking Dead is a solid way to expand HHN's fan base and at the end of the day, thats how you become successful im a financial sense. It just sucks that in this, and most other scenarios, financial success and creative success are two different things. But thats the price you pay for a company with as much growth and expansion as Universal.
yeah, but the walking dead money train will soon stop. What can replace it? that's the question of the day. how is marketing going to strike oil again?
they are so worried with making money right now but how are al of those nin horror fans going to be pleased again? (How, with ANOTHER Non horror property....)
 

SeventyOne

V.I.P.
Jul 1, 2010
3,305
Orlando
We may disagree, but apparently the talent that makes the event happen (and built it up to the reputation it enjoys and is riding on) agrees with me. Walking Dead is not a horror property - say it with me. That's why A&D doesn't want to do it - they know there's literally nothing more they can do with that property that hasn't been done (and given the budget and resources they have, can't really be done all that well).
In your travels to Orlando, did you ever get a chance to visit the Crooked Spoon food truck? It was very good, so good the owners bought up an old Friendly's in Clermont and created a brick-and-mortar restaurant, where they could serve true gourmet food. The problem is, people who go to a retrofitted Friendly's in Clermont don't want deconstructed gastropub fare--they're looking for burgers. So the Spoon was forced to adjust its menu, much more focused now on (amazing) burgers* and sandwiches. I don't think the kitchen staff much appreciated it, but they did it to survive.

Creative may not like TWD--or working with AMC, which I suspect is the real issue--but at a certain point you need to accept that's what the public wants. I'm sure there are Imagineers working on a Frozen overlay who'd prefer to work on Star Wars land, but that's the job--why they call it "creative." Find a new way to make zombies interesting, make guests feel like they're in the show. Because horror property or not, a whole lot of people are watching it. (BTW, while the show itself is primarily filled with melodrama, surely the zombies count as "horror" if a near straight-up comedy like AWiL does. The beauty of HHN is that it's definition of "horror" is broad, from pure jump scares to classic film homages to comedy houses.)

In any case, it's just one house. Don't see how that can kill the event. Except maybe 2011, I can't think of an HHN year that didn't have at least one ****-the-bed bad house.

I'm sure marketing will try - I'm arguing they're going to fail. There simply isn't another property that can live up to these inflated expectations that now exist.
I agree this is a once-a-generation phenomenon. It will be a decade at least before we see a vaguely horror-related property with this much wide-spread popularity. But when it disappears, marketing will have to come up with something new, or old, like iconic icons. But in the meantime I can't begrudge Universal trying to make more money off it. It's what businesses do, and if it finances King Kong down the road, all the better.

* No, really, the 420 Burger, unfortunate name aside, is in the running for best in the area.
 

TylerDurden

Veteran Member
Oct 14, 2012
1,466
yeah, but the walking dead money train will soon stop. What can replace it? that's the question of the day. how is marketing going to strike oil again?
they are so worried with making money right now but how are al of those nin horror fans going to be pleased again? (How, with ANOTHER Non horror property....)
Thats not really the point. At some point, the novelty of Harry Potter will wear off as well. Is Universal just going to start hosting 0 people a year soon? No. People came to Universal to see Potter, but decided to come back after seeing the merit of the rest of the resort. Same with HHN. A bunch of Walking Dead fans come out to the event to see their favorite show come to life--then they walk through American Werewolf in London, Evil Dead, etc and realize that this event (that they wouldnt have considered attending pre-2012) is actually pretty fun and worth checking out each year, Walking Dead or not. Its not just about attracting a crowd in the current year. Its about *building* a fan base for the event, using a popular IP to reel them in. The idea is theyre creating lifetime fans by first attracting them with something theyre familiar with and want to see.
 
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SeventyOne

V.I.P.
Jul 1, 2010
3,305
Orlando
They have been having uprecedented attendance levels and at the end of the day, the company's goal is to make money. Walking Dead not attracting just horror fans is good because it expands the audience HHN attracts, therefore bringing in more money.
To reiterate HHN has never been just about "horror." If it catered solely to the guys who read Fangoria it would have gone away a long time ago. It's first and foremost a party. And things like Bil & Ted and (much as I detest it) RHPS and TWD and Alien can coexist with Halloween and Jack and the Caretaker.
 

Shucker

Rookie
Dec 5, 2012
445
Thats not really the point. At some point, the novelty of Harry Potter will wear off as well. Is Universal just going to start hosting 0 people a year soon? No. People came to Universal to see Potter, but decided to come back after seeing the merit of the rest of the resort. Same with HHN. A bunch of Walking Dead fans come out to the event to see their favorite show come to life--then they walk through American Werewolf in London, Evil Dead, etc and realize that this event (that they wouldnt have considered attending pre-2012) is actually pretty fun and worth checking out each year, Walking Dead or not. Its not just about attracting a crowd in the current year. Its about *building* a fan base for the event, using a popular IP to reel them in. The idea is theyre creating lifetime fans by first attracting them with something theyre familiar with and want to see.
Yep, there is no telling how many new HHN fans they have now because of WD.
 

Lucky Planet

Veteran Member
Sep 23, 2013
3,430
To reiterate HHN has never been just about "horror." If it catered solely to the guys who read Fangoria it would have gone away a long time ago. It's first and foremost a party. And things like Bil & Ted and (much as I detest it) RHPS and TWD and Alien can coexist with Halloween and Jack and the Caretaker.
Yep, there is no telling how many new HHN fans they have now because of WD.
I don't know, I doubt the amount of fans that converted is enough to please universal and Marketing.

If that was the case then why bring Walking Dead a third year? doesn't make sense in that regard.
if they could rely on WD fans coming back because they loved HHN so much they wouldn't need to make a Mega house this year.

As for Potter, that's different because it delivers all year round, and it will be 5 years or more before it starts to fade. And Like I was saying IF Walking Dead was such a big impact on the fans they wouldn't need to make it a third year in a row.

Why not skip 2014 and bring it back for 2015 or 2016? Almost feels like they know they won't be able to have the numbers without WD so they are striking while the iron is hot (which is why I think it Will come back next year) It is almost like the Hype of Walking Dead of last year Already faded. Why else would they need "The Biggest house HHN has ever made"

Look at how big SAW was as a franchise, and being as huge as it is and it didn't bring the kinds of numbers WD did.
 

TylerDurden

Veteran Member
Oct 14, 2012
1,466
I don't know, I doubt the amount of fans that converted is enough to please universal and Marketing.
Really? The park is packed to the brim. They're making more money than ever. I'd say they ought to be pretty happy with the turnout the last couple of years.

If that was the case then why bring Walking Dead a third year? doesn't make sense in that regard.
if they could rely on WD fans coming back because they loved HHN so much they wouldn't need to make a Mega house this year.
That's the real problem, IMO. When are they going to stop? It could very well be that Universal will insist there be some sort of Walking Dead presence at the event every year until the show goes off the air. Because in general, when you find a plan that works, you don't deviate from it until you absolutely have to. So long as Walking Dead is still popular on TV Universal won't need to take it out of the event…it's a way to make sure they're bringing in the maximum revenue possible while the IP is hot. The demand for the IP is still there by fans of the show; the key is that once the demand drops off, all those people who went to the event to see TWD won't be less impressed with the event even though the show dropped off in popularity. But why stop including it when it still has an audience?

As for Potter, that's different because it delivers all year round, and it will be 5 years or more before it starts to fade. And Like I was saying IF Walking Dead was such a big impact on the fans they wouldn't need to make it a third year in a row.
Comparing Potter and HHN on a literal level will never work…HHN is a seasonal event. I only brought Potter into the discussion because the idea is the same…come for one IP, come BACK for the rest of the place. That same principle applies to HHN, but day-to-day park operations/decisions are completely different from what goes on for HHN.

Why else would they need "The Biggest house HHN has ever made"
This confused me too, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it's less likely a way to appease fans of the event and more of just a gimmick to keep the property fresh. They introduced it in 2012, had them take the park over last year, and this year they'll have the biggest haunt ever. At first, I agreed with you and was confused as to why they'd "throw a bone" to HHN-goers if TWD was as popular as it's being made out to be. But when you think about it from a non-fan perspective (where the real money is), then it's clear that's not the point of the whole gimmick.

Look at how big SAW was as a franchise, and being as huge as it is and it didn't bring the kinds of numbers WD did.
The Saw franchise isn't as big as you'd like to think it is. The people who go to see Saw are largely the same people who show up to an event like HHN anyway. You really explained it best yourself when you said that Walking Dead isn't for horror fans…that's the best part of it. Saw was a great way to make the event fresh for its existing fan-base, but it wasn't going to attract that many *new* people. The Walking Dead, on the other hand, isn't a series of films that have mediocre box officer performance…it's the most-watched show on cable. Everyone with a passing interest in the show will be attracted to HHN now that they've included the property. That's the goal here.
 

Lucky Planet

Veteran Member
Sep 23, 2013
3,430
they said they have plans to have Walking Dead on the air until season 12 (if they keep getting the views) so I guess we will see walking Dead in HHN until 2022 :pound:


as for Potter... I know this will never happen... I Know they will never say yes... I understand J.K. said no to anything HHN related. but for the sake of argument, if somehow marketing was able to convince them to let them make HHN houses based on Potter, that would be something that brings the same numbers as Walking Dead. (And what would also make the non horror fans happy as well)

It is kind of ironic that Universal is sitting on a franchise that would bring them the same crowds and money as walking dead for HHN but they cannot use it.
 

TylerDurden

Veteran Member
Oct 14, 2012
1,466
they said they have plans to have Walking Dead on the air until season 12 (if they keep getting the views) so I guess we will see walking Dead in HHN until 2022 :pound:


as for Potter... I know this will never happen... I Know they will never say yes... I understand J.K. said no to anything HHN related. but for the sake of argument, if somehow marketing was able to convince them to let them make HHN houses based on Potter, that would be something that brings the same numbers as Walking Dead. (And what would also make the non horror fans happy as well)

It is kind of ironic that Universal is sitting on a franchise that would bring them the same crowds and money as walking dead for HHN but they cannot use it.
Agreed 100%. But I get JK Rowling's issue with HHN, honestly. She's worked hard to create her own world, one that's family-friendly to boot…if I had put in as much effort as her to do the same, I wouldn't want to tarnish it with the party-heavy atmosphere that HHN presents.
 

Clive

aka Fallow
Staff member
Moderator
May 26, 2010
4,648
Two things... then I think I'm going to need to bow out of this particular discussion, just because the only way it can really evolve at this point is for years to go by and someone proven right.

1) I don't agree with the argument that HHN was always a party. It isn't marketed as a party, even now, it's marketed as a haunt. Is it at haunt that has a party atmosphere between its haunted attractions? Yeah, sure. But it's not really a party. There's no dance floor, no DJs. Tons of booze? Yep, it's profitable - but the only people really treating it like a party or a giant bar are (unfortunately) the "hardcore" fans.

2) I totally agree with the notion that Walking Dead is bringing in new people to the event who wouldn't have otherwise gone. HOWEVER, I disagree that they will be able to retain those people in future years with no Walking Dead. The daytime park operations are mostly excellent - tons of great attractions, happy staff, solid entertainment, great theming, overall positive experiences. Potter is helping Universal to grow AND retain its audience. HHN, however, I think is not. Its quality has been falling for years (as I have outlined time and time again), and if nothing else, the crowd control, wait times and pricing have gotten out of control. People aren't having great experiences anymore, and I don't think they're necessarily going to come back. It's also worth noting that the grand majority of HHN fans are locals - hardcore, casual, or not typically Uni fans at all - and they will come pretty much regardless... those people planning expensive overseas or across-country vacations are in the minority, and they're likely only going to cough up that dough for properties they really care about (i.e. Walking Dead).

Just watch... the year we don't have Walking Dead (if it ever comes), the event isn't going to do as well. Then what? More Walking Dead in a misguided attempt to fix it?
 

Lucky Planet

Veteran Member
Sep 23, 2013
3,430
Agreed 100%. But I get JK Rowling's issue with HHN, honestly. She's worked hard to create her own world, one that's family-friendly to boot…if I had put in as much effort as her to do the same, I wouldn't want to tarnish it with the party-heavy atmosphere that HHN presents.
Yeah I know and understand why J.K. will never let HHN ever use or even open her area. I was just trying to think of an IP that would bring the same kind of numbers. (trying to think of an answer to the question that I Asked Shucker)

What could bring the same kind of big numbers and non horror fans to HHN?

Paranormal Activity?(not big enough)

True Blood?(maybe),

the game The Last Of US?(more zombies...)

World War Z (MORE Zombies),

Game of Thrones?

could they make a house based on Game Of Thrones? That would definitely bring that kind of WD numbers. (it has a big following, has fantasy elements, It is bloody, it could bring a new crowd to HHN.)

without being sarcastic, If I was marketing and I was thinking about ticket sales I would be looking into Game Of Thrones for HHN right now. Trying to secure those rights. The only thing as big as walking dead that could be dark enough for halloween horror nights would be Game of Thrones.
 
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graspthesun

Premium Member
Feb 21, 2013
1,243
New Orleans
American Horror Story was the 9th most watched cable series last year, bringing in less than half of the number of viewers of Walking Dead. If that's the second best option and it has less than half the followers, you don't have a prayer.
 

USO92

Veteran Member
Jun 18, 2012
2,149
Winston-Salem
Ladies and gentleman, halloween horror nights is a household name in the haunted house business. It doesn't matter what kind of IP's they bring in...The HHN brand is enough to bring people in alone. Especially after the Walking Dead increasing HHN population, they don't need a big name to bring in people.


"If you build it they will come"
 

Clive

aka Fallow
Staff member
Moderator
May 26, 2010
4,648
Ladies and gentleman, halloween horror nights is a household name in the haunted house business. It doesn't matter what kind of IP's they bring in...The HHN brand is enough to bring people in alone. Especially after the Walking Dead increasing HHN population, they don't need a big name to bring in people.


"If you build it they will come"
Of course they will - but it's all about expectations. The people running the numbers are now going to be expecting Walking Dead-level numbers, every time, regardless of whether or not WD is present... not what the event typically draws based on its name and known quality.

When the numbers drop back to normal levels... what happens?