For years, Central European countries have vied to attract lucrative film work from the U.S. and other countries by legislating generous tax breaks and investing in production infrastructure. Germany, Hungary and the Czech Republic in particular have turned themselves into alternatives for Hollywood studios looking to cut costs while maintaining production values.
Now the Czech Republic is upping the ante. Prague Studios, founded in the country’s capital in 1999, just broke ground on two new stages that are due to be completed in the spring. After the additions, the facility will have five stages totaling 325,000 square feet of production space.
The company’s existing stages will also be upgraded, says Prague Studios manager Jindrich Guttner. The facility has already booked several films and TV series for the new stages in 2018, he adds.
Foreign productions spent $156 million in the Czech Republic last year, attracted by the country’s 20% tax rebate, alluring locations and studios and crews that live up to Hollywood standards.
“Thanks to incentives [in the Czech Republic], there’s increased demand by filmmakers for more and better stage space,” Prague Studios owner Tomas Krejci says. “When our facility upgrades and the new stages are completed, Prague Studios will be able to handle the most ambitious Hollywood productions.”
The Prague Studios complex was built on the site of a former aircraft factory. In 2001, three hangars were converted into film stages, measuring 32,500, 27,000 and 11,000 square feet. The new stages are 14,000 square feet each and are interconnectible. They’ll feature adjacent production offices.
“We want to be able to accommodate any size production,” says Krejci. “Star Wars” producer Rick McCallum shot the Lucasfilm feature “Red Tails” and the Sky and Amazon TV series “Britannia” at Prague Studios. “It was refreshing to work at a studio that understood our needs and was able to adjust to them flexibly,” he says.