Disney's FX pioneers join forces with George Lucas, ILM and Francis Coppola to send Michael Jackson on an outer space mission to restore music & color to the galaxy in pulse-pounding, all-new 3-D!
The 31-year-old attendance record for Tomorrowland at the Disney Anaheim park has been broken. During a premiere weekend in which Disneyland remained open for 60 continuous hours, more than 150,000 people poured into the park to see a 17-minute musical 3-D film starring Michael Jackson. According to reports, at about 5 a.m. Sunday, the line-up for Captain EO stretched from Tomorrowland all the way down Main Street.
Michael Jackson plays Captain EO in the space-fantasy featurette that co-stars Anjelica (Prizzi's Honor) Huston, Dick (The Producers) Shawn and an assortment of Disney-created musical instrument characters. The film opens with a laser-and-explosion filled space chase. Captain EO soon finds himself skimming the surface (a la the trench sequence in Star Wars) of a trash-strewn, colorless planet inhabited by a collection of suitably grim black-and-white nasties. They are confronted by the Supreme Leader (Huston), who hangs batlike from the ceiling and looks like, a Gigeresque version of the Wicked Witch of the West. Captain EO and his crew defeat the forces of darkness using the power of music, dance and light to transform the evil domain into a magical world of color and happiness. Animation buffs will appreciate the similarity of concept to the old Van Buren animated short "The Sunshine Makers."
Featured are two new Michael Jackson songs with choreography by Jeffrey Hornaday and incidental music by James Horner (STARLOG #63).
Directed by Francis Coppola and produced by George Lucas, Captain EO marks a significant departure for new attractions at Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Traditionally, the park rides are themed around Disney subjects and rely on audio-animatronic figures rather than film to tell the story. Watching movies, with the exception of Tomorrowland's Circarama theater, hasn't been part of the Disneyland experience.
It was only the unprecedented success of EPCOT's 70mm, 3-D presentation of Magic Journeys, which since its opening in 1982 has played to more than 19 million guests, that led to the decision to make a 3-D film for Tomorrowland. During the past two summers, park officials test-screened Magic Journeys (directed by Academy Award winner Murray Lerner) at the Anaheim park. The response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic.
The audience reactions to the 3-D presentation of Magic Journeys were just as startling as they had been at EPCOT. One of Walt Disney's stated purposes for EPCOT was to be an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow in which new ideas, technologies and systems could be tested in an actual working environment. Within EPCOT are Future World and World Showcase with pavilions that utilize perhaps a dozen or so different film presentations in nearly as many systems and formats. In terms of immediate and enthusiastic audience response, Murray Lerner's 3-D Magic Journeys has them all beat. While the other formats – everything from triple panel 70mm to full Circarama – visibly impressed or awed audiences, Magic Journeys had viewers directly involved – very dramatically and very visibly.