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TOURISM/14″/dt1st/jc2nd By JOE BEL BRUNO Staff Reporter It sounds like a bad “B” movie: Superman vs. the Tyrannosaur. But the battle is a real one, being fought this summer by the Valley’s two major tourist attractions Six Flags Magic Mountain and Universal Studios Hollywood. Magic Mountain is touting the new Superman: The Escape, while Universal is pushing for tourists to revisit Jurassic Park: The Ride. Both amusement parks are vying for tourist dollars during a summer season expected to be one of the busiest ever. “We’re expecting that attendance is going to be way, way up during the summer from last year,” said Tim O’Brien, an editor with Nashville-based Amusement Business magazine. “Tourists are going to visit both (Valley) parks on vacations, and residents will probably hit both as well because of the new rides and publicity.” Universal Studios Hollywood is the beneficiary of a prodigious marketing campaign for Steven Spielberg’s wildly popular “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” movie, distributed by parent company Universal Studios Inc. Television commercials are encouraging local audiences to see the movie, then extend the experience by visiting or more to the point, revisiting the park’s Jurassic Park: The Ride. Thus, Universal kills two promotional birds with one stone. The year-old Jurassic Park attraction features grazing herbivores, a ferocious T-Rex and a steep, 84-foot water slide. Meanwhile, on the Backlot Tram Tour, props from “The Lost World” have been added to the other cinematic artifacts. “The movie is generating the kind of publicity that we hoped for,” said Eliot Sekuler, a spokesman for Universal’s theme park. “It’s what everyone is coming to see.” But Universal isn’t the only park taking advantage of movie promotions. Magic Mountain is playing off the recent release of the “Batman & Robin” movie from Warner Bros., hoping that the film will draw traffic to one of its attractions the Gotham City Backlot, a reconstruction of the film set from the original “Batman” movie that comes complete with a floorless roller coaster and a reproduction of the Batmobile. Unlike Universal, though, Magic Mountain does not have a promotional tie-in with the latest “Batman” film, and is not advertising the Gotham City attraction. It is, however, running television commercials touting its newest roller coaster Superman: The Escape. The 41-story coaster is one of the world’s first magnetic-propelled attractions and reaches speeds of over 100 mph. The new attraction opened March 15 after more than a year of delays. Magic Mountain sought to open the ride last summer, but technical glitches kept Superman grounded. “We’re getting very high attendance so far since (Superman) opened,” said Palmer Moody, a spokesman for Six Flags Corp., a unit of Time Warner Inc. “We’re much higher than last summer.” Neither Universal Studios Hollywood nor Magic Mountain releases attendance figures. However, O’Brien at Amusement Business said he expects traffic at both parks to jump by about 30 percent this summer. Last year, Universal attracted 5.4 million visitors (up from 4.7 million in 1995), according to estimates from Amusement Business. Meanwhile, Magic Mountain which has not added any new attractions in the past two years hit 3.4 million visitors in 1995 and about the same number last year, O’Brien said.

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