Thierry Coup

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Thierry Jean-Andre Coup
Thierry Coup at IAAPA (38390286296) (cropped).jpg
Coup after the "Legends: Adapting IPs for Parks and Attractions. What Works, What Does Not" panel at IAAPA IAE 2017
OccupationSenior Vice President
EmployerUniversal Creative

Thierry Jean-Andre Coup[2] is the current Senior Vice President of Universal Creative, Universal Parks & Resorts' research and development division. Coup began his career working in the film industry, performing set design and visual effects. He moved into theme park design in the early 1990s when Walt Disney Parks and Resorts offered him a position with Walt Disney Imagineering. In the late 1990s he transferred over to Universal Creative and worked on projects such as The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Transformers: The Ride.


Coup began his career working in the film and television industry. He provided set design, visual effects, and stop-motion animation for a variety of films and TV commercials. Coup is credited for working on Back to the Future, Flight of the Navigator, Total Recall, Dick Tracy, and Gremlins 2: The New Batch.[1][3][4]

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts' research and development division, Walt Disney Imagineering, noticed Coup's work and subsequently offered him a job in the early 1990s. Although he wasn't looking to leave the film and television industry, Coup was intrigued by the challenges the new job would entail and accepted the position. Coup's first task with Disney was to redesign Tomorrowland at Disneyland. He then worked alongside others on the design of Discoveryland at Disneyland Paris, where Coup's particular focus was on Space Mountain: De la Terre à la Lune. Coup's final two projects for Disney were for Walt Disney Studios Park: Armageddon – Les Effets Speciaux and Moteurs... Action! Stunt Show Spectacular (the latter was duplicated for Disney's Hollywood Studios several years later).[1]

In the late 1990s, Coup returned to the United States and began working for Universal Creative. Most of the division's focus at that time was on the development of Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida. Coup was tasked as the Creative Director for Marvel Super Hero Island.[1] The flagship ride for the area was The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, a prototype dark ride which combined 3D imagery with a track-mounted motion simulator.[5] Coup was both the Production Designer and film producer for the ride, and holds a patent for part of the ride's technology.[1][6] The ride was later cloned for Universal Studios Japan.[7]

After Islands of Adventure launched in 1999, Coup worked on developing 4D films for Universal parks across the globe. In the United States, Shrek 4-D was launched, while in Japan, Sesame Street 4-D Movie Magic was launched.[1][4] The two films have since been shown at parks owned by SeaWorld Entertainment, Village Roadshow Theme Parks, and Parques Reunidos.[8][9][10] Work on the Revenge of the Mummy enclosed roller coasters, and a refurbishment of Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour, followed.[3][11]

Coup's next major project was to be the Creative Director for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure.[12] Coup and other employees of Universal Creative made several trips to Scotland to meet with J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series of books. The headline attraction for the area was Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, an attraction Coup served as both Creative Director and film director on.[1] The overall themed area was a success with attendance increasing by 36% following the launch.[13] Clones followed at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Japan.[14]

In January 2011, Coup was promoted to the role of Senior Vice President for Universal Creative.[15] The role would see him lead "creative development activities for upcoming attractions off all Universal theme parks world-wide".[3] In the new role he was the Creative Director for Transformers: The Ride and has overseen the development of Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem.[3][16] In 2013, Coup’s focus was on the expansion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure into the adjacent Universal Studios Florida park with Diagon Alley[17].

Led by Thierry Coup, the introduction of The Wizarding Worlds has been transformational for Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Japan. More recently, it has contributed to a significant attendance boost at Universal Studios Hollywood. These immersive lands have become an industry reference point for the use of theming, intellectual property and theme park design.

With over two decades with Universal, Coup brings innovation, insight and creative flair, and has been recently celebrated as one of the top theme park influencers on The 2018 Blooloop 50 Theme Park Influencers List. Blooloop celebrates this list as key individuals who helped shape the multi-billion global industry, leaving their mark on the 21st century theme park experience. [18]



Attraction Original location Year opened[nb 1] Role
Tomorrowland Disneyland 1998 Production Designer
Space Mountain: De la Terre à la Lune Disneyland Paris 1995 Production Designer
Armageddon – Les Effets Speciaux Walt Disney Studios Park 2002 Creative Director
Moteurs... Action! Stunt Show Spectacular Walt Disney Studios Park 2002 Creative Director
Marvel Super Hero Island Islands of Adventure 1999 Creative Director
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man Islands of Adventure 1999 Production Designer / Producer
Sesame Street 4-D Movie Magic Universal Studios Japan 2003 Creative Director / Producer
Shrek 4-D Universal Studios Florida / Hollywood 2003 Creative Director / Producer
Revenge of the Mummy Universal Studios Florida / Hollywood 2004 Art Director
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Islands of Adventure / Universal Studios Hollywood / Universal Studios Japan 2010 Executive Creative Director
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Islands of Adventure / Universal Studios Hollywood / Universal Studios Japan 2010 Executive Creative Director / Film Director
King Kong: 360 3-D Universal Studios Hollywood 2010 Executive Producer
Transformers: The Ride Universal Studios Singapore 2011 Creative Director / Producer / Director
Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem Universal Studios Florida 2012 Executive Producer
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley Universal Studios Florida 2014 Creative Director / Executive Director
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts Universal Studios Florida 2014 Executive Creative Director / Film Director
Hogwarts Express (Universal Orlando Resort) Islands of Adventure / Universal Studios Florida 2014 Executive Creative Director / Film Director
Fast & Furious: Supercharged Universal Studios Hollywood 2015 Executive Creative Director / Film Director


  1. ^ These dates indicate when the various projects opened to the public, not when Coup was working on them.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Coup, Thierry (September 2010). "Interview With Thierry Coup, VP of Universal Creative". DIS Unplugged (Interview).
  2. ^ WO application 2011068566, Cortelyou, Robert J.; Blum, Steven C. & Coup, Thierry Jean-Andre et al., "A motion-based attraction with image display assembly", published June 9, 2011, assigned to Universal Studios 
  3. ^ a b c d Goh, Robin (5 October 2011). "Getting to know: Thierry Coup". Transformers: The Ride Blog. Resorts World Sentosa. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Thierry Coup, SVP Universal Creative Studio" (Press release). Universal Orlando Resort. 1 January 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  5. ^ "Super Hero Island is Marvel". Amusement Business. 111 (14): 18–19. 5 April 1999.
  6. ^ US patent 6462769, Trowbridge, Scott & Coup, Thierry J., "Image correction method to compensate for point of view image distortion", issued October 8, 2002, assigned to Universal Studios 
  7. ^ "The Amazing Adventures Of Spiderman (Universal Studios Japan)". Parkz. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  8. ^ Gall, Megan (12 May 2009). "Sesame Street in 4-D at Sea World this month".
  9. ^ "Shrek 4D (Warner Bros. Movie World)". Parkz. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  10. ^ Sim, Nick (3 December 2010). "Rumor: Dreamworks dispute forces Alton Towers to drop plans for Shrek 4-D in 2011". Theme Park Tourist. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  11. ^ Schodolski, Vincent J. (25 June 2006). "Universal revamps tour". The Spokesman-Review. Cowles Publishing Company. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  12. ^ Liston, Barbara (25 March 2010). "Harry Potter park adds new characters". Reuters. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  13. ^ Garcia, Jason (16 December 2010). "Universal Orlando ponders how to take full advantage of Wizarding World's popularity". Orlando Sentinel. Tribune Company. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  14. ^ "Harry Potter And The Forbidden Journey (Universal Studios Japan)". Parkz. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  15. ^ Niles, Robert (27 January 2011). "Universal Creative promotes Thierry Coup, creative director on Potter, Spider-Man". Theme Park Insider. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  16. ^ Roseboom, Matt (21 April 2011). "Universal dropping hints to their new attraction – King Kong, Despicable Me or something else?". Attractions Magazine. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  17. ^ "Thierry Coup - Universal Parks & Resorts - Blooloop Theme Park Influencer 2018". Blooloop. Retrieved 2019-03-13.
  18. ^ "Blooloop 50 Theme Park Influencer List 2018 Blooloop". Blooloop. Retrieved 2019-03-13.
  19. ^ Brigante, Ricky (9 May 2013). "Closer Look: Diagon Alley secrets, sizes, details, and dragons revealed for 'Harry Potter' expansion at Universal Orlando". Inside the Magic. Retrieved 16 July 2013.

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