With the news about the Fast and the Furious arena tour hitting this week, the possibilities for other franchises to try the same formula seem limitless. It got us thinking. What would make for the most fun film, TV, and game related traveling shows out there? The ability to entertain, astonish, and create in-person spectacle is the perfect way to invigorate moribund projects or provide news ways to be close to one’s fandom. Here’s eight we think would be a blast.
The Speed Racer Arena Tour
Speed Racer showed us the possibility of how to bring a Hot Wheels set to life. The vibrant colors, cartoonish action, and insane racetracks would make for the ultimate live arena show. Just imagine yourself sitting in the stands, eating your hot dog, or popcorn, and watching the Mach-5 zoom past you so close you could reach out and touch it. Well, if you don’t mind saying goodbye to a few fingers. The psychedelic lights and non-stop car battles would be a true treat to the coliseum spectator in all of us. And for comedy bits, you know Spritle and Chim-Chim would pop out of the Mach-5’s trunk every now and then. This idea is so perfect that they should make an underappreciated movie about it. Oh wait…
The Quidditch Arena Tour
What could be better at an area than a rousing game of magical sport? The Harry Potter series has already taken the stage in London, where feats of technical wizardry have blown audiences away. But if Harry Potter’s on-stage magic could come to an area setting, it’d have to take the form of a Quidditch game. What dyed-in-the-wool Potter fan wouldn’t love seeing Gryffindor take on Slytherin?
Or, to go even further into Potter canon, what megafan could resist the temptation of seeing the Chudley Cannons (Ron Weasley’s favorite) compete against the Holyhead Harpies (Ginny Weasley’s favorite)? Or hey, why not transport audiences to a Quidditch World Cup game? The game could be a Cirque du Soleil-style act, with harnessed broom riders dangling from pre-programmed wire rigs. Sure, you might be able to see the wires. But what’s magic without a little make-believe?
The Mad Max Arena Tour
The world of Mad Max is a tough one. Violent, high-octane, and dusty. With the sheer amount of crazy cars, amazing costumes, and explosive stunts, the recent Mad Max: Fury Road is an ideal candidate for a touring show. Especially considering the musical elements provided by the Doof Warrior and his rockin’ guitar. Explosions. Stunts. Madness. It would be a crowd-pleaser and considering how well the Waterworld ride did at Universal Studios, possibly the most exciting show on Earth. The Mad Max mythos is extremely operatic and the storyline would be a cinch and the modded cars and merchandising options would be a slam dunk.
The Running Man Arena Tour
Richard Bachman (known better as Stephen King) is responsible for many adapted works. Never one to shy away from politics or bloodshed, King’s dystopian fantasies rarely disappoint. Film versions of the text don’t always work, though. One of the more interesting movies of 1987 took inspiration from the short story The Running Man. Attributed to the Bachman pen name, King set a story of a totalitarian police state in 2017. The general public was kept appeased by the reality TV show The Running Man, which had criminals running and fighting for their lives against flashy professional mercenaries. The film became a cult classic.
While an arena version couldn’t feature Arnold Schwarzenegger, the highly stylized gladiator-style action could be adapted for the format, complete with mythology and backstory. Dependent on choices the audience made, the runners could win or lose. The fictional crimes of the performers could be weighed in terms of attendee sympathy. The look of the show could be the 2017 of today as imagined by 1987. As a touring show, the outcomes could be different every night. Alternate reality games can help the audience pick up clues to the government conspiracy depicted in the center, drumming up even more excitement. No one has to actually die, of course, to make a road show about capital punishment.
The Ghostbusters Arena Tour
Arena shows thrive on two major features: largeness and lights. Let’s be honest, these events aren’t about the story. They’re about spectacle. And there is no bigger spectacle than the Ghostbusters firing their proton packs at the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
That’s right, a Ghostbusters arena show is what dreams are made of. You can see it now! Ghosts projected from the middle of the stage, flying around through the crowd as the Busters run around trying to catch them. Major set pieces would involve massive creatures wreaking havoc and wowing the crowd. Plus you would get the signature Ghostbusters humor, meaning not only would the audience ooh and ahh at the impressive special effects, they’d also laugh too.
Ghostbusters is one of those few properties that appeals to children and adults too. Sure there’s some crass humor in the movies but it’s something all ages can generally enjoy together. Imagine how great your family night out would be if it involved a packed stadium full of ghosts, jokes and one giant walking marshmallow.
The CW Superhero Arena Tour
The CW’s superhero series (Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl) aren’t just the best TV shows based on DC Comics. They’re the best TV shows based on any comics. Period. So, why NOT experience all of the action and excitement of the Arrowverse LIVE in a spectacular arena setting along with thousands of other fans. It’s the ultimate DC/CW viewing party!
Picture an epic stunt show featuring a crossover story bringing together all of the fan-favorite heroes and villains from each series. (We’re talking about stunt performers here, so there’s pre-recorded dialogue and the only close-ups are in cut scenes shown on the jumbotron.)
Just imagine… Arrow repels down the side of a building while firing off trick arrows. State-of-the-art effects are used as Barry harnesses the power of the Speed Force to appear at different places around the arena at once. And Supergirl soars over National City as she races to fight Lex Luthor. And then the Legends show up with news of an otherworldly threat. That sounds like a blast, right? Just keep your fingers crossed that Barry won’t erase you from the timeline.
The Mario Kart Arena Tour
Now that Nintendo is finally building amusement parks with Universal, it makes sense that they would try to expand their physical entertainment in other ways. Super Mario Kart is one of Nintendo’s best series, bringing wacky multiplayer racing fun to your living room since the days of the Super Nintendo. It isn’t hard to imagine a Mario Kart ride coming to an Orlando near you in the next few years. But why stop there? Why not bring it around the nation?
This is actually not the most extravagant of ideas. A live touring Mario Kart show would only require some 150 CC engines, a few drivers in costumes, and the occasional stunts involving bananas and shells. Set up a dirt bike course, have big goofy obstacles, and paint it like the Mushroom Kingdom. Pipe in Yoshi sound effects and classic Mario Kart tunes over the speakers. Perhaps creating all of Rainbow Road in outer space might be a bit outside any practical budget, but one could easily create big old mushroom sets with happy smiles.
The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Arena Tour
For the classy version of an all-out arena show, we look to everyone’s fine four-fendered friend, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It has all the makings for sold-out performances—musical numbers, family shenanigans, a horrifying villain in the form of a Child Catcher and of course, the headlining boat/plane/car.
The story comes pre-packaged with an intermission, which presents opportunities galore for merchandise. Who wouldn’t buy a Toot Sweet for the tots in tow? The money practically makes itself, people!
We all know there needs to be a spectacle here, so this is the elevator pitch: visiting children can be voluntarily “kidnapped” at intermission and displayed during the third act when heroes Caractacus Potts and Truly Scrumptious save them from Vulgaria’s Baron and Baroness Bomburst. Whether or not parents would take them back after the show’s finale is completely up to them.
It might not have the ‘splosions and other death-defying acts you’d see in other arena shows but take a moment to imagine the pure joy of thousands of people standing up for a rousing stanza of “Oh you Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, we love you.” Now that’s entertainment!