When Jordan Peele’s upcoming horror epic “Nope” opens later this month, it will have something no other film ever has: an attraction that’s part of the world-famous Universal Studios Backlot Tour, opening on the same day.
The Jupiter’s Claim set from the movie will be accessible beginning July 22, the same day “Nope” arrives in theaters nationwide. It’s the first time that a Studio Tour attraction has opened day-and-date with a movie release and will now become a part of the storied tour, alongside the crashed airplane from Steven Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds,” the Bates Motel from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” and the Courthouse Square from Robert Zemeckis’ “Back to the Future” (and countless other films). That’s good company.
The Jupiter’s Claim set, a rustic Old West town (originally filmed near Santa Clarita, California), was designed by production designer Ruth DeJong (Peele’s “Us,” “Yellowstone”). It was disassembled during post-production and shipped to Universal Studios Hollywood. The set was then “meticulously reconstructed on site, complete with original props and details from the film” (according to the official press release).
On the official in-universe website, Jupiter’s Claim is described as “the bestest darn California Gold Rush theme park in the Santa Clarita / Lancaster area! Perfect for family outings, school groups, and birthday parties!” Jupiter’s Claim is owned and operated by former child actor (“Kid Sheriff”) and reality TV star, Ricky “Jupe” Park (played by the great Steven Yeun). The theme park “becomes a pivotal location as the characters seek to investigate mysterious, unexplained phenomena, leading them toward increasing danger and terrifying consequences,” according to the official press release.
In “Nope” Keke Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya play siblings who inherit their father’s ranch after he dies of mysterious circumstances. After they take over the ranch, they are soon terrorized by otherworldly visitors. It has been described as a “horror epic” from the Oscar-winning director of “Us” and “Get Out.”
Peele himself is very excited about the set opening as part of the Backlot Tour. “I remember visiting Universal Studios when I was 12 years old and being mesmerized. That experience reinforced my passion and drive to someday join in on the meta-magic of ‘backlot life.’ Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to direct three movies for Universal,” Peele said in an official statement. “It is a privilege to honor these collaborations with my studio partners, crew members and cast, and to be able to share Jupiter’s Claim with fans.”
The Universal Studios Backlot Tour has a fascinating history; it first started back in 1915. It cost five cents and you got a boxed lunch with chicken out of it too. This tour ceased operation In 1930 with the advent of “talking” pictures and the studios’ bad soundproofing. The tour wouldn’t return until 1964, with the tour vehicles creeping through active sets and showcasing the behind-the-scenes magic that brought your favorite films and television shows to life. It’s become a staple of Universal Studios, now a full-fledged theme park with highly imaginative attractions and one of Southern California’s most beloved tourist attractions. If you go to Universal Studios and don’t do the Backlot Tour, did you even really go?
“Nope” and the Jupiter’s Claim backlot attraction both open on July 22.