Disney has ended months of speculation by confirming that Michael Jackson's 3D movie Captain EO will return to Walt Disney World's Epcot and Disneyland Paris this summer.
Captain EO is scheduled to reopen at Epcot on July 2, 2010, and at Disneyland Paris on June 12, 2010. At both parks, it will replace Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, which is set to close on May 3 at Disneyland Paris and on an as-yet unconfirmed date at Epcot.
The announcement from Disney was widely expected, and follows hot on the heels of confirmation that Captain will also return to Tokyo Disneyland on July 1. It means that every park that has previously housed the attraction will bring it in back as a tribute to the pop superstar Jackson, who died in June 2009.
The Epcot, Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disneyland versions of the attraction are likely to be similar to Disneyland's "Captain EO Tribute", which opened to rave reviews in February. This has seen the original film shown without many of its original special effects, which were removed during the conversion to Honey, I Shrunk the Audience. Instead, it makes use of the moving seats, strobe lights and compressed-air effects that were installed for its replacement.
The future looks bleak for Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, which has grown increasingly dated over the last few years. Although Captain EO will return for a limited time only at each of the parks (Tokyo Disneyland has confirmed that it will be in place for at least a year), it seems likely that Disney will use it as a stop-gap attraction while it decides on a permanent replacement.
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and executive-produced by Star Wars creator George Lucas, Captain EO was produced when Jackson was at the peak of his fame. The show's story sees the eponymous Captain EO (played by Jackson) and the crew of his spaceship using the "power of music and dance" to battle against the wicked Witch Queen of a faraway planet.
At just 17 minutes long, the film cost a massive $30 million to produce. It included "4D" elements such as lasers, smoke effects and starfields. At the time it was the most expensive film ever produced if measured per-minute (at $1.76 million), however this has since been topped by Universal's Terminator 2: 3D at $5 million per-minute.
You can keep up to date with the latest confirmed and rumored opening dates for new attractions through Theme Park Tourist's "New Attraction Watch" section, and by signing up for our weekly newsletter.