Writing a roller-coaster movie for FOX

Monday, April 26, 2004 4:11 PM
Hi everyone,

My name’s Bob DeRosa, and I’m a screenwriter in Los Angeles. 20th Century Fox and New Regency recently hired me to write Destiny, the next film for director Luke Greenfield, who directed The Animal with Rob Schneider and The Girl Next Door, in theatres now.

Destiny is Luke’s passion project, a dramedy about a guy who has a near-death experience and wakes up with memories of his future. We’ve been searching for a career for our guy that mirrors the ups and downs of life, and we’ve been really interested in making him a roller-coaster designer. We’ve already interviewed some great designers in the business, but I wanted to open a dialogue with anyone who’s interested in helping us learn more about the “experience design business”, as Craig Hannah of Thinkwell Design called it.

So my first question for anyone who’s interested: this movie will come out in 2006. What do you think will be the hot new ride that year? Will it be combining dark rides and iron rides, like the new Mummy ride at Universal, or will it be a big jump in iron ride technology, like X at Magic Mountain?

Thanks to anyone who wants to jump in.


Monday, April 26, 2004 4:26 PM
Most parks dont announce their next year additions until later in the current year. And at that rate who really knows what will be out by then. But i think for a movie you would want to showcase a coaster thats outside and is visual pleasing like they did in spy kids 2.
Monday, April 26, 2004 4:32 PM
I think the problem is that 'The hot new ride of the year' is usually a pretty regional thing, with the possible exception of megablockbusters like Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point. Most non-coaster enthusiasts don't really have hot new rides on their radar unless amrketed locally.

A more poignant approach may be to make your guy a wood coaster designer/builder, trying to help recapture the glory of the old coaster days in a world obsessed with speed and loops.

Monday, April 26, 2004 4:33 PM
It's a bit early to say what parks will build in 2006, but there will open an even larger version of Top Thrill Dragster (Cedar Point, Ohio) at Blackpool's Pleasure Beach, which will break speed and height records. So there will be some interesting developments in pure iron rides.

2006 will also be the opening year of the Matterhorn and Big Thunder successor: Expedition Everest, a huge mountain coaster at Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Orlando.

I do hope the movie will be positive towards the amusement industry. Roller coaster accident/disaster movies don't attract much people to amusement parks. ;-)

Monday, April 26, 2004 4:38 PM
I agree with the woodie approach. If you go that route, you will get so much help from enthusiasts, you won't know what to do. It could be the underdog thing, some small player gets overlooked for big budget cookie cutter blah-ness, but then he gets his shot and builds a ride with magic. You should go ride some of the best woodies out there for your research and I promise you it will be the most fun you ever had "working." Go to Holiday World, Michigan's Adventure, Indiana Beach...etc.

Edit: oh oh...I just thought of something. Since this is a woodie, you could build a real one (in a park near me of course). We all can help you make it awesome, and the fact that the movie is based on a real coaster would be great publicity. *** Edited 4/26/2004 8:42:47 PM UTC by RavenTTD***

Monday, April 26, 2004 4:40 PM
The Girl Next Door is one of the best teen dramedies ever, so I'm looking forward to seeing this when it comes out. The Animal was so-so, but Luke will be on a winning streak if Destiny turns out as good as it sounds. Too bad the box office for TGND doesn't reflect it's greatness, but maybe it will find its audience on DVD and video. Elisha Cuthbert (24, Girl Next Door) is a phenomenal actress and you can't go wrong with the talented Emile Hirsch (Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys, Emperor's Club). It's a must-see movie. Good luck on the writing, Bob. I guess this will be your first major motion picture?

If you take the wooden coaster approach, I think something along the lines of Son of Beast and The Beast at Paramount's Kings Island or Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce would work well.

X and Dragster are probably the most extreme of the steel coaster experiences now.

The most talked about themed rides of the last few years would be The Mummy, Spiderman, Tower of Terror, Tomb Raider, and Tutankhamen. The Mummy is the only coaster of the bunch though.

The juice is definitely worth the squeeze. :)

+Danny *** Edited 4/26/2004 8:47:08 PM UTC by +Danny***

Monday, April 26, 2004 4:48 PM
To Belgian,

This will absolutely be a positive movie about the amusement park industry. We have no interest in doing a coaster/disaster movie. Luke wants to make a movie about a guy who's an artist and a dreamer. Someone who wants to really move people with his work. First thoughts were to make our character a filmmaker, since that parallel's Luke's life as a struggling artist who finally hit it big. But we wanted a career that everyone could relate to, and I mention roller-coaster and people's faces just light up.

Thanks to everyone for the insights about woodies. I'll mention it to Luke and see what he thinks.


Monday, April 26, 2004 4:52 PM
Danny, are you a marketing guy for Fox? Kidding. Thanks for the strong praise for Girl Next Door. Luke was a hired gun on The Animal, very thankful to get his big break. The Girl Next Door is truly close to his heart, and it shows in the film. Destiny is his passion project and I'm very lucky to be helping him bring it to life.

Yes, this will be my first major motion picture. I have some other lower-budget films in development, but this is gonna be the BIG one.

Thanks for your thoughts,


Monday, April 26, 2004 5:25 PM
The only movie about roller coasters I would watch would be a documentary. Seriously, I see no idea how to make a good movie about roller coasters, unless they were a very small part of the plot. And if they're a large part of the plot, people on sites like this will rip it to shreds, because there's no way you're going to get every little thing right.

"The Girl Next Door" was close to the director's heart? A story about a high school porn actor was close to his heart? Yikes.

Monday, April 26, 2004 5:30 PM
Bobby - Good luck! No mater which type of coaster you have him designing you're going to find some enthusiasts whining. We're rarely in agreement on any coaster-related topic.

Do what's best for your story.


*** Edited 4/26/2004 9:31:07 PM UTC by Mamoosh***

Monday, April 26, 2004 5:34 PM
Well... in 2006 Disney World will be opening Expedition Everest, which is combining dark rides and iron rides. I can't think of a bigger ride then a new Disney mountian.

But besides Disney or Universal (who most likely wont build a coaster in 2006 because of Mummy now) anything big or exciting would be something bigger/faster then what we already have. A new ride type/technology? Maybe.

Monday, April 26, 2004 6:12 PM

First, I am NOT a coaster designer. If I had to guess what the ups and downs of the job would be (no pun intended), I am guessing deadlines and customers changing their minds would be the toughest thing to deal with in the job.

Second, I think the wood argument also takes on another aspect when you think of what the general public thinks about when you say 'coaster'. I could be wrong, but I think people associate wood with that thought. This may not be an issue if the movie is geared towards a younger crowd.

Third, X Son of Beast, and Top Thrill Dragster are all ground-breaking rides. They would all work very well as 'jaw droppers'.

Good luck with your quest,

Monday, April 26, 2004 6:14 PM
Hey BobbyD, I think the direction your heading with this movie is great, but is it going to be a documentary?

A documentary might be pretty good, It would give a little insight to how much people have to put up with at an amusement park, how ride ideas are thought up and planned, and what goes into daily operation at park.

If it isn't a documentary then film the movie in the Midwest. The Midwest has everything, A lot of wood coasters (the only looping one), the tallest steel coaster in the World, and the 2 tallest in the US.

For the characters part, you should either find a enthusiast or actual coaster designer to play the part. Because most people who either work for the business or enthusiasts would know what its all about and it would give the movie a real life feel.

I hope I helped. I cant wait to see the making of the movie.

Monday, April 26, 2004 6:21 PM
Kyle - Bobby said in his post the movie is going to be part comedy, part drama [or "dramady'].

Secondly, good luck getting Disney to agree to the project. They're notoriously difficult to work with. It took them 25 years to agree to hosting an enthusiast event.


Monday, April 26, 2004 6:24 PM
Boy I get distracted easily, I didn't even remember reading that. Disney agreed to the project? That's surprising considering they are owned by ABC but more importantly, they only have like 5 coasters.
Monday, April 26, 2004 6:28 PM
Kyle - slow down and read the posts more carefully ;) No said anything about Disney agreeing to the project. Disney was suggested because of their Everest project.


Monday, April 26, 2004 6:28 PM

Mamoosh said:

Secondly, good luck getting Disney to agree to the project. They're notoriously difficult to work with. It took them 25 years to agree to hosting an enthusiast event.



sorry Moosh you edited before I could respond. *** Edited 4/26/2004 10:29:44 PM UTC by Kyle Fobe***

Monday, April 26, 2004 6:50 PM
Yeah, this isn't a Disney movie. Luke is directing the film for New Regency, who made The Girl Next Door and Man on Fire, the new Denzel Washington movie. New Regency's movies are distributed by 20th Century Fox. Luke wants to make a big-budget film that speaks to a wide audience, so it will most likely have a big star in the lead. We're thinking a story that does for roller-coaster designers what Jerry McGuire did for Sports Agents, and at the same time, tell a very human, entertaining story.
Monday, April 26, 2004 6:54 PM
Kyle - none of my posts are edited ;)
Monday, April 26, 2004 6:54 PM
go to Cedar Point!

Then after that head down to Kings Island, or if your looking more for theming just go to Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure.


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