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La Cite du Cinema bows with ‘Smurfs 2’ shoot

Besson's 'Malavita' to shoot at Paris Studios in August

PARIS — La Cite du Cinema, the €160 million ($195 million) film hub masterminded by French helmer-producer Luc Besson, officially opens its doors in September but it is already up and running.

Sony Pictures Animation’s live-action/CG hybrid “Smurfs 2” has been lensing at Paris Studios, part of La Cite complex, for three weeks and has one more week to go, according to Didier Diaz, prexy of Transpamedia, a subsid of Euro Media France, the facilities provider that financed 25.1% of Paris Studios.

La Cite du Cinema, located in Saint Denis on the outskirts of Paris, is the largest studio complex in France, created to compete with the U.K.’s Pinewood, Germany’s Babelsberg and Italy’s Cinecitta.

The $37 million high-tech Paris Studios has nine sound stages, covering 120,000 sq. ft.

If “Smurfs 3” is greenlit, it will likely lense at the Paris Studios, according to Diaz, who hinted that France will play a prominent role in the plot of “Smurfs 3.”

Up next, Paris Studios will host Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones for the August shoot of Besson’s crime thriller “Malavita.”

Paris Studios is in the process of booking a high-profile Hollywood shoot for next year, Diaz said Wednesday, adding the facility needs one big Hollywood movie and three or four major French pics a year to be in the black.

Meanwhile, Euro Media France will soon shutter the Arpajon Studios, which were built in 1987 and hosted such pics as Leonardo DiCaprio starrer “The Man With the Iron Mask,” Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s “The City of Lost Children” and Gerard Depardieu starrer “Cyrano de Bergerac.”

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