×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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

  • Alan Horn Bill Tanner

    Alan Horn to Keynote Variety Business Managers Elite Breakfast, Bill Tanner to Be Honored

    Bill Tanner will be recognized with Variety’s 2019 Business Managers Elite Award at the annual Business Managers Elite Breakfast presented by City National Bank, which takes place in Beverly Hills on Nov. 13. Co-chairman and chief creative officer of The Walt Disney Studios Alan Horn will be the keynote speaker in conversation with Variety editor-in-chief, [...]

  • Smoke haze covers the Sydney Harbour

    Australia's Seven West to Merge With Affiliate Prime Media

    Australia’s Seven West Media has agreed a deal to acquire regional broadcast group Prime Media. The move is a further step in the consolidation of Australia’s traditional media industry. The two companies announced on Friday that Seven will make the acquisition entirely through the issue of new shares to the owners of Prime. Both companies [...]

  • Ron Meyer

    Ron Meyer Files $10 Million Suit Over Forged Rothko

    NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer has filed a $10 million suit against two art dealers, claiming they sold him a forged Mark Rothko painting in 2001. Meyer accuses Susan Seidel and Jaime Frankfort of duping him into buying the work. According to the suit, he was told that it would be included in an official [...]

  • Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein (L)

    Harvey Weinstein Seeks to Call Expert on 'Recovered' Memories at Rape Trial

    Harvey Weinstein’s attorneys are seeking to call an expert on “recovered memories” at his trial on rape and sexual assault charges. The defense has filed a motion asking to call Deborah Davis, a psychologist and professor at the University of Nevada at Reno. Davis is a frequent defense witness. She co-authored an article in 2006 [...]

  • Tekashi 6ix9ine Docuseries Coming From Showtime

    Tekashi 6ix9ine Docuseries Coming From Showtime and Rolling Stone

    Showtime Documentary Films today announced a new limited docuseries profiling controversial rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine. Titled “SuperVillain” and inspired by the Rolling Stone feature written by Stephen Witt, the three-part series will trace how a New York City deli clerk named Daniel Hernandez became superstar rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine — who racked up 2.6 billion streams and [...]

  • Fader Label Logo

    Fader Label Signs Two New Acts, Boosts Staff

    The Fader Label, home to Clairo, Matt and Kim and others, announced two new signings today along with three new hires on its staff. Charlie Burg and Zachary Knowles have joined the label’s talent roster, while Carson Oberg has come aboard as general manager, Yasmine Panah as project manager and Josh Hymowitz as label coordinator. They [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content