Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Roxanne Watson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Amy Rust, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Justin Brown, Ph.D.


Cinema, Entertainment, Media Conglomerates, Media Convergence, Theme Parks, Tourism


The goal of this research study is to develop a model of information that will enable media conglomerates and other companies, with theme park investments, to make informed and effective decisions based on scholarly and empirical evidences. In order to do this, the following research study uses historic, scholarly, journalistic, and focus group evidences to consolidate the information necessary to create a model to support concepts and designs. The paper begins with establishing why it is important for media conglomerates, with theme park investments, to integrate cinema into the park’s design. Then it looks back through the history of cinema and theme parks, identifying the similarities and differences. Furthermore, it analyzes the development of Universal Studios Hollywood and Disneyland. The study uses the history of Hollywood from its beginning to the decentralization to parallel the development of the movie-based theme park, and how the decentralization of Hollywood and the rise of the movie-based theme park support one another. As the idea of the convergence of one media with another is not a new concept, information on media convergence is used as part of the scholarly research in this area. Because movies and movie-based attractions are each forms of storytelling, the study includes prolific information on media, film, literary, and psychological theories as supporting evidence. The empirical research method utilized in the research, specific to this study, includes four focus groups in Florida, New York City, Cincinnati, and Los Angeles and one interview with a theme park president. Throughout the study, concepts of narrative, spectacle, pleasure, character, and setting are addressed in terms of how these elements work in movies and movie-based theme park attractions.