Can’t keep a good biz down

Hollywood resumed a semblance of normalcy Wednesday, although news of quake damage — not to mention aftershocks — continued to rock the film community. As more studios and production companies got back to work, it became clear Hollywood, like the rest of Southern California, is just beginning to comprehend the depth of the damage.

Three days after the quake, there had still been no price tag put on the damage at the various studios, but all were back in operation on Wednesday.

Ironically, one of the oldest studios in town — the soundstage on what was once Charles Chaplin’s studio and is now home to A&M Records — escaped unscathed, and was up and running by Monday afternoon.

Tuesday and Wednesday, the studio hosted a musicvideo crew for an independent-label act, and a TV commercial is scheduled to be filmed there today.

Engineers at Sony Pictures Entertainment continued to check the eight-story SonyPlaza building Wednesday to ensure there was no damage “from top to bottom, 10 times over,” said a Sony spokesman.

On the top floor, a copy machine on rollers careened through a wall into the business affairs department, while seven-foot file cabinets toppled over work stations.

Disney execs in Burbank were still making damage assessments on their buildings, although a rep said business was “by and large, back to normal.” Construction on the new animation building across the street from the studio lot had resumed on Monday.

The facilities of the feature animation division were among the first to be given an engineers’ OK for occupancy. As an indication of the importance of feature animation to Disney, roughly 70% of the company’s feature-animation work force was on the job Tuesday.

Production at Paramount Studios was barely impacted. Only a handful of offices suffered even minor cosmetic damage, its three films were all out of state, and post-production services were quiet Tuesday, although the studio was open for business. As reported (Daily Variety, Jan. 19),most of its TV series resumed production Wednesday.

At Warner Bros., repair work had begun on the studio’s management building on Pass Ave. in Burbank, opposite the undamaged executive “ranch” complex.

Five of WB’s 34 stages were affected, suffering mostly light exterior damage.

The fourth floor of MGM/UA’s Santa Monica headquarters was drying out Wednesday after the sprinkler system went haywire. Staffers came in to pick up soaked scripts. Studio chairman/CEO Frank Mancuso rallied the troops with a morning meeting Wednesday, and a free lunch.

Twentieth Century Fox suffered little damage, and had no feature productions shooting in the state. Some of the studio’s TV shows had stopped production Monday and Tuesday, but resumed Wednesday.

Though Universal Studios suffered minimal damage, it rated high on the drama scale as a computer flew through a window on a top floor office.

The Universal Studios Hollywood tour, multiplex and CityWalk were open by Tuesday, even though the studios were closed until Wednesday. The only damage reported was on the tour’s King Kong attraction, which had a damaged building. Officials closed the attraction Tuesday.

Kiki Morris, VP and general manager of George Lucas’ Skywalker Sound, said Lucas’ post-production facility on Bundy Drive is going to be checked today for structural damage and its employees will be temporarily moved to the Lantana production center in Santa Monica.

The site had sustained water damage, as did Lucas’ Skywalker Sound, which is located in the Lantana center.

Lantana, which houses two dubbing stages, one TV dubbing stage, one small feature stage and an ADR stage, was open for business by Tuesday.

Location filming went mostly unscathed. When the Mayor’s film liaison Cody Cluff could not get into his office Tuesday (because the building was closed), he set up shop in a restaurant and began issuing permits by cellular phone. County film liaison Stephanie Hershey Liner also issued permits by phone on Tuesday.

Among events to be rescheduled was Oracle Corp.’s unveiling of new technology to serve as the basis for interactive multimedia.

Other scrubbed events include a press conference to announce the launch of Starz TV and another sponsored by the CBS series “Picket Fences” in conjunction with the Center for Prevention of Hand Gun Violence.

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