Disney Projects ‘Monsters Inc.’ Onto Epcot Center
Tapping into the excitement around the June release of “Monsters University,” the long-awaited prequel to its hit movie “Monsters Inc.,” Disney this year celebrated its “Monstrous Summer.” The summer was full of monster-themed events, but the kickoff “Eyenouncement” was without question the biggest of them all.
The objectives were simple—p.r. and awareness—but the execution was done in true Magic Kingdom style as Disney transformed the iconic ball at Epcot Center into a giant animated talking head featuring “Monsters Inc.” animated star Mike Wazowski. Wazowski blinked his huge single eye and peered at the thousands of onlookers all around while he delivered his message as a lead-up to the official press event. The brand did it using eight Christie Roadie HD+35K projectors and eight Christie Twist PRO Image Warping and Edge Blending Modules tied into Christie/Vista Spyder Processing centers on Mac-based, multi-channel media servers. It handled the electronics through fiber optic-based signal management with 100 percent redundancy—just to be safe (it is the unflappable Disney brand, after all).
The top-of-the-line projection system design allowed the brand to provide the animation team at Disney’s Pixar studios (that created Mike) a flat perspective image of the tiny, spherical character for projection onto a more than 180-foot tall hemisphere comprised of about 30 isosceles triangle faces, each of which was divided into eight smaller equilateral triangles. The full intensity of the projection package was capable of producing more than 250,000 lumens. The surface area of the projection was at about 50,000 square feet and would be projected from a distance of more than 450 feet away. The tech needed to handle precise control of the spherical distortion and color was potentially nightmarish, but turned out to be hardcore and perfect, which was a must to meet Pixar’s precise specifications.
The final imagery was finished thanks to an over/under blend configuration to allow for full pixel field width. Did you catch all that, Sparky? All of that tech was designed for one deceptively simple purpose: to bring the inanimate structure of Epcot to life in the form of a beloved Disney/Pixar character, and to capture the imagination of the invited members of the media for the announcement of the Monstrous Summer promotion. The projection show made a seemingly magical transformation of the Spaceship Earth globe into a full motion, mega-sized Mike Wazowski. This was a first-ever experience for attendees that was both unique and compelling, while generating extensive coverage in both traditional media and on social media channels.
The results speak for themselves. Since the April event, the Disney Parks Blog posted seven videos on YouTube for a total of 654,414 views. On Twitter, the event enjoyed a total exposure of more than 123 million impressions via the hashtag #MonstrousSummer. The brand’s Facebook posts generated close to 1.2 million likes, 15,000 comments and more than 76,000 shares.