Holy connections, Batman! Madame Tussauds attractions in Orlando and Sydney continue to add to their “Justice League: A Call for Heroes” exhibits, allowing guests to jump in on the action.
The exhibit, featuring intellectual property from Warner Bros. movies, was first unveiled in both locations in the summer of 2018. Since that time, Madame Tussauds continues to add new superhero characters. Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman formed the original lineup at both locations. The Flash was added in Sydney in July 2018 and Aquaman in Orlando in December 2018. This summer, the Orlando location added The Flash and Cyborg to its Justice League superhero team.
The story begins when experimental technology at villain Lex Luthor’s company LexCorp goes haywire, and the Justice League needs guests to help save innocent citizens. Visitors interact with the narrative by assuming certain poses that kick-start a variety of special effects. Jon Tovis, experience designer for United Kingdom-based Holovis, explains how it works.
“We’re using an array of infrared cameras that are small and easily integrated into the ceiling. We’re looking for the guest to move into a specific pose, and when they do, we use our own custom software to combine projection mapping, show lighting effects, and enhanced audio to create a projection mapping finale for that character,” says Tovis. With each hero, the guest is asked to complete a task by using an iPad to contribute to the story.
In Orlando, guests must assume a running pose to trigger the sequence for The Flash, which includes a puff of wind and the smell of burnt rubber, as if the character was moving so quickly, his shoes overheated on the pavement. When interacting with Cyborg, visitors must look for a hidden code and input it into a keypad. When the code is entered, lights flicker in the electronics store behind Cyborg, smoke and steam rise from the building’s vents, and a holographic projection shows the location of the device Lex Luthor is using to cause mayhem in the city.
James Paulding, general manager of Madame Tussauds Orlando, explains every guest can be a superhero when helping Superman lift a helicopter up about three feet, setting off a combination of wind and lighting effects.
“The look on people’s faces when they’re pushing up the helicopter is great! ‘Justice League’ is not a static museum-like thing, and I think we’d have done it an injustice if we’d done it that way,” says Paulding.
Daniels Wood Land in Paso Robles, California, provided all of the sets, theming, and fabrications for “Justice League: A Call for Heroes” in both Orlando and Sydney, as well as some scenic dressing and props. Andy Dauterman, the company’s director of custom and theming projects, says in the Madame Tussauds setting, not only is the interactivity surprising to guests, but also the sets.
“Guests are walking through very two dimensional-looking spaces in Madame Tussauds, and then they walk into the entry to LexCorp, and it reveals these 20-foot-tall sets with three-dimensional buildings, winding roads, and textured streets,” he observes. “It’s really jaw-dropping for the guests.”
Dauterman says the focus on interaction and personal experiences happening worldwide at museums, casinos, and retail centers is exciting.
“From our standpoint as a 3D fabricator, I love what’s being done now with all these 3D sets and interactives. This was a fun project for us,” he says.
Guest reaction to “Justice League: A Call for Heroes” continues to be positive, according to Paulding.
“They’re really loving it and just how interactive it is,” he says. As for whether its success means Madame Tussauds will be doing more interactive attractions, he responds, “Oh my gosh, yes! I think we’re definitely really excited with what we’ve done, and I think you’re going to see it globally.”
www.madametussauds.com, www.holovis.com, www.danielswoodland.com