Universal’s History of Pop-up Exhibits
Universal Studios primarily utilizes pop-up exhibits to promote upcoming film releases or other special events, and locations utilized for pop-up exhibits may include Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Orlando, or alternate locations. Pop-up exhibits hosted on Universal properties are built by Studio Utility Employees (part of Local 724). Pop-ups hosted at alternative locations are often constructed in advance by Universal staff and shipped to the final site, although Universal may also contract with third-party vendors for assistance in managing certain aspects of off-site pop-ups, such as sales tracking. Below you will find a discussion of our findings.
Based on research, Universal Studios very frequently utilizes pop-up exhibits to promote the release of studio productions, and for special events around the globe. In 2017, Universal Studios hosted pop-up exhibits for blockbuster movie releases like Fate of the Furious, The Mummy, and Despicable Me 3, in addition to other pop-up exhibits, like a Harry Potter pop-up shop in Sydney, Australia. With this information, and 2018's slated film schedule, Universal Studios will likely have upwards of 19 pop-up exhibits, including for highly anticipated films like Fifty Shades Freed, and for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom after very successful pop-up exhibits for the 2015 release of Jurassic World.
The creation of these pop-up exhibits varies on whether the pop-up exhibit is held at Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Orlando, or alternate locations. When pop-up events take place on Universal property, they are likely handled by Studio Utility Employees, part of Local 724, who are responsible for "building, installing, repairing and maintaining rides, attractions, buildings, and grounds." In fact, job descriptions for current available positions, including Entertainment Production Manager and Production Designer, include requirements for not just major events, but special projects like pop-up exhibits. Any pop-up exhibit is generally constructed first at an alternate location, and then shipped, in pieces, to the location of the pop-up exhibit. It is likely that Universal Studios staff are always directly involved in the construction of the detailed movie promotion pop-up exhibits.
When working outside Universal Studios property, Universal likely contracts with third-party vendors to assist in the construction, erection, and coordination of pop-up exhibits around the globe, as well as the facilitation of sales at these exhibits. For example, they hired a cloud-based software company, Eposnow, to help track sales at the Waterloo Station Jurassic World exhibit, and likely employ the assistance of vendors, like ReedPop, who have familiar presences at major events like Comic-Con and others.
Universal Studios follows a very specific formula for constructing most pop-up exhibits and bringing them to life in whatever location is selected. Set pieces are designed, for movie promotions specifically, to be exact replicas of important pieces of the film. These pieces are then disassembled, shipped, and reassembled at the specific location of the pop-up exhibit, like the London Waterloo Station exhibit or the New York Comic Con pop-up exhibit, both for Jurassic World. Pop-up exhibits, like the Harry Potter store pop-up in Sydney, Australia, are comprised simply of merchandise and require less construction and re-construction than other more immersive projects.
Universal Studios primarily utilizes pop-up exhibits to promote upcoming film releases or other special events. Pop-up exhibits may be held at Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Orlando, or alternate locations. Pop-up exhibits hosted on Universal properties are built by Studio Utility Employees (part of Local 724), while pop-ups hosted at alternative locations are constructed in advance by Universal staff and shipped to the final site, with additional assistance from third-party vendors and contractors.