We’ll have a first hand account of the ride in a few days. In the meantime, here’s the official MINIUSA release:
MINI is once again the star in a Hollywood spectacular that comes to life with the debut of Paramount’s The Italian Job(TM): Stunt Track. This new fast-track-roller coaster experience opens May 20, 2005 at Kings Island theme park and is the first time MINI is featured on a roller coaster of this caliber. The Italian Job(TM) Stunt Track also debuts in Toronto at Paramount Parks Canada’s Wonderland Park.
Based on the high-action finale of Paramount Pictures’ The Italian Job (2003) starring Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron, the new ride takes visitors on a high-speed stunt car adventure through movie sets and scenes inspired by the film’s climatic chase sequence.
Park visitors will experience what it’s like to be a Hollywood stunt driver behind the scenes of an action movie. Riders board their very own MINI Cooper S, each one realistically modeled as a 75% scale replica of the red, white or blue MINI Cooper S’s that saved the day in the hit film. The MINIs are tricked out with working headlights and sophisticated audio special effects, creating an exciting, multi-sensory experience.
Once riders are strapped into their custom stunt car, the rubber meets the road as the three MINIs peel out to begin their chase sequence. The MINIs twist through a parking garage, dodge near-collisions, race down stairs, chase through tunnels and narrowly escape massive explosions triggered by gunfire from a menacing helicopter. Tires skid out one last time as the stunt cars crash through a billboard and splash down into a Los Angeles aqueduct concluding the chase sequence and the riders’ screen test trial as a stunt driver.
Designed to provide 800 riders per hour with an extreme MINI adventure, the cars reach speeds of 40 miles per hour. Riders embark on a two-minute thrill ride that speeds them on 2,000 feet of track through 53 feet of elevation change and around turns banked up to 88 degrees. The ride is expected to attract close to 1 million riders per year.
The multi-million dollar roller coaster took a year of planning and six months to build. Paramount’s engineers received technical advice from MINI to help replicate the legendary handling of the MINI Cooper S. Each car on the ride has also been engineered with a feature that simulates an expertly executed parking brake slide.
The Italian Job film – a MINI blockbuster
The Italian Job film was released in 2003 and earned nearly 100 million dollars in the US alone. The film was inspired by Paramount’s 1969 release of the first Italian Job film, starring Michael Cain and – of course – three red, white and blue Minis. Fans of Mini and the 1969 film have since propelled the movie into cult status.
With the highly anticipated launch of MINI in 2001, interest in recreating the action-pack thriller was a natural. MINI partnered with Paramount in 2002 for the filming of the movie and provided 32 cars to create the hair-raising chase scenes. Three MINIs were even converted to be electrically powered for filming the rather tricky tunnel scenes.
Paramount Parks and Kings Island
Paramount’s Kings Island is owned and operated by Paramount Parks, which is a unit of Viacom. Paramount Parks is a leading developer and operator of world-class theme parks and location-based attractions, entertaining more than 13 million guests annually.
The company currently owns and operates five of the most popular theme parks in North America including: Paramount Canada’s Wonderland (Toronto, Ontario, Canada); Paramount’s Carowinds (Charlotte, N.C.); Paramount’s Great America (Santa Clara, Calif.); Paramount’s Kings Dominion (Richmond, Va.); and Paramount’s Kings Island (Cincinnati, Ohio).
The company also developed and manages the award-winning STAR TREK: The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton (Las Vegas, Nev.) and manages Bonfante Gardens horticultural theme park (Gilroy, Calif.); CBS Television City at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino (Las Vegas, Nev.); and Terra Mitica theme park (Benidorm, Valencia, Spain).