King Kong returns to Universal Studios Hollywood

The King Kong attraction, burned out of the Universal backlot during a 2008 fire, is coming back in time for summer crowds, it was reported today.

"After the 2008 fire, we knew we had to bring him back to the backlot studio tour, but in a way that has never been experienced before," Universal Studios Hollywood President Larry Kurzweil told the Los Angeles Times.

The new, 3-D Kong has been taking shape in the old Howard Hughes Spruce Goose hangar in Playa Vista, where Academy Award-winning director Peter Jackson led a team in designing the attraction.

Visitors, who will wear 3-D glasses, won't only see Kong in three dimensions but also smell his banana breath, feel the gust of wind as he jumps over the guests and sense the ground quake when the ape engages a tyrannosaurus rex in a life-or-death battle, The Times reported.

During a preview for employees and advertisers last week, a dirty, battle-scarred Kong stared menacingly out from two 180-foot-long by 40-foot-tall screens that wrap around the trams that will carry visitors.

In another scene, a 35-foot-tall T. rex stepped over the trams, turned to the audience and bared its massive teeth.

"You are really going to be immersed in every part of the show," Universal Studios show producer Valerie Johnson-Redrow said at the preview.

The June 2008 fire destroyed a 30-foot, seven-ton Kong that was built in 1986 and considered for many years to be one of the most complex animatronic figures in the world.

The new Kong will resemble the one from Jackson's Oscar-winning 2005 version of King Kong, right down to the broken canine tooth and the scars over its right eye.

The summer debut date is uncertain.

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