×

Soundstages Extend Their Brands on Global Scale

Pinewood, Raleigh fan out to far-flung locations as way to boost business

In June 2009, Pinewood Studios Group signed a five-year deal to handle management, sales and marketing for recently opened Filmport Studios in Toronto, which then became known as Pinewood Toronto Studios.

The arrangement not only reversed the fortunes of the struggling Canuck facility, which has gone on to host a slew of major features, including the upcoming “Pacific Rim”; it also opened up a major new business for Pinewood.

The company, which owns and operates the U.K.’s two oldest, largest and most prestigious studio complexes, Pinewood and Shepperton, had watched on the sidelines in the 2000s as vendors and clients dispersed around the globe, chasing the latest production incentives.

“We realized we had a brand that filmmakers took great comfort in,” says Nick Smith, Pinewood’s commercial director, who oversees the international studios. “It soon became obvious through our research that if you took that brand and put it on a set of boxes (i.e., soundstages) somewhere else in the world, you’d gain great traction.”

In the intervening four years, Pinewood has applied the model to another pre-existing studio — in Berlin — as well as to new facilities in Malaysia, the Dominican Republic and Atlanta.
Compared to Pinewood, EUE/Screen Gems is a small, family-owned operation, with just three studios: New York; Wilmington, N.C.; and Atlanta. That’s key to how it markets its brand.

“What sets us apart is we’re private,” says chief operating officer and co-owner Chris Cooney. “We’re able to make a decision to invest in enhancements for the clients quickly,” as it did when the company installed a custom IT infrastructure for Iron Man 3, which shot for a year at the North Carolina studio.

Raleigh Studios, Hollywood’s oldest independent studio facility, has also set up franchises in multiple locales — Playa Vista, Calif.; Baton Rouge, La.; Atlanta; Budapest; and Wuxi, China — but management says the potential for further expansion is very limited.

Raleigh Enterprises prexy Mark Rosenthal brings that point home, saying that business is hard to predict, “particularly if it’s based upon potentially transitory demand generators, i.e., government production incentives.”

That lesson was underlined by Raleigh’s experience with Raleigh Michigan Studios. When the state’s incentives were rolled back in 2011, business dropped off dramatically, leading investors to default on the loan and Raleigh to prematurely end its deal with the studio.

Raleigh owns its Hollywood facility and is a minority investor in its Budapest studio, but with its other locations it merely provides its name and management and marketing expertise in exchange for a piece of the profits.

But regardless of the size of the actual cash outlay, the investment is big.
“We have a vested interest in making sure that the brand reputation stays intact,” Pinewood’s Smith says.

More Biz

  • IWC Schaffhausen store opening, Rodeo Drive,

    8 Luxury Gifts That Industry Leaders Are Spending Their Paychecks On

    Whether you’re celebrating a new launch, a new business venture, or toasting to the end of another successful year, here are eight gift ideas to reward yourself — and to impress the company you keep. 1. Saint Laurent Perforated Leather Tote Bag If you work in the industry, you need a good bag, and you’ve [...]

  • best airlines ranked inflight entertainment

    Holiday Travel Survey Reveals Airlines With Best In-Flight Entertainment

    There are many ways to pass the time if you’re in the air, but for most people, settling in with a glass of wine and a movie is the preferred way to fly. But not all airlines share the same script when it comes to entertainment offerings. A new survey from the website, CableTV.com, ranked [...]

  • Ventana Sur Rocks with Sales, Mass

    Ventana Sur Rocks with Sales, Mass Attendance, Structural Growth

    BUENOS AIRES — Celebrating its 10th anniversary with a huge hike in attendance to over 4,000 accredited delegates, the 2018 Ventana Sur will go down in history on multiple counts: Sales and pick-ups on movies which combined social comment and entertainment value, increasingly the new foreign-language movie standard; new sections, led by a Proyecta co-production [...]

  • Jennifer Lawrence Harvey Weinstein

    Jennifer Lawrence Denies Harvey Weinstein's Claim in Latest Assault Lawsuit

    Harvey Weinstein was hit with a lawsuit Friday from an actress who claims he forcibly performed oral sex on her, repeatedly masturbated in front of her, and threatened to harm her career if she objected. The suit details that Weinstein claimed he was trying to help her and that he was the gateway to her dreams. [...]

  • Times Up Hollywood

    Time's Up Entertainment Announces New Industry Mentoring Initiative

    Time’s Up Entertainment, an affiliate of the Time’s Up coalition of women across industries working to improve workplace safety, has announced the “Who’s in the Room” industry mentoring initiative. The program’s goal is to increase the presence of people of color from diverse backgrounds in the entertainment industry’s executive ranks. Funded by a $500,000 grant from [...]

  • Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in

    Paramount Inks Deal for Theme Park in South Korea

    Paramount Pictures has announced a deal to install a studio-branded theme park in an entertainment resort being developed in South Korea. The agreement was struck between Paramount and Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, which owns the Inspire Integrated Entertainment Resort in the South Korean city of Incheon. Mohegan has invested KRW 2.8 trillion ($2.4 billion) in [...]

  • Davan Maharaj Mel Gibson

    L.A. Times Publisher's Lawyer Was Accused of Extorting Mel Gibson

    The attorney who negotiated a $2.5 million exit package for L.A. Times publisher Davan Maharaj was previously accused of using secret recordings to extort actor Mel Gibson. Surreptitious recordings also figure in the Maharaj case. NPR reported on Wednesday that Maharaj taped Tronc chairman Michael Ferro. According to the report, Ferro was heard on the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content