Hungary, the second-biggest destination for film and TV shoots in Europe, is set to unlock investment for the expansion of Mafilm Studios as part of the government’s program to get the economy moving again post COVID-19 lockdowns.
Owned by the National Film Institute, which oversees Hungary’s film and TV industry strategy, Mafilm has two sites: the original studios in Budapest, which date back to 1917, and another facility, built in 1978, in Fót, a town 14 miles from downtown Budapest.
Four 25,800 sq.-ft. soundstages will be built in Fót, increasing total stage capacity to 131,000 sq. ft. These could be used in pairs to form two 51,700 sq.-ft. stages, allowing Mafilm to accommodate Hollywood blockbusters.
These will sit alongside the existing stages at Fót — one 11,500 sq. ft., the other 17,500 sq. ft. Also on the lot are an exterior green screen, 180 ft. wide and 20 ft. high, and a water tank, 127 ft. by 152 ft, and 10 ft. deep. It was built in 2016 to accommodate a scene from “Blade Runner 2049.” There are also permanent outdoor sets — a World War II army barrack, a Wild West town and a medieval village, which was used for Netflix series “The Witcher,” starring Henry Cavill. There are also stores for props, weaponry and costumes.
Csaba Káel, the country’s commissioner for the motion picture industry, says Hungary will “only be able to keep its leading position and competitiveness in the international industry” if it continues to develop.
Total annual spending on film and TV production in Hungary, which offers a 30% rebate, is 110 billion forint ($337 million). Last year, several Hollywood movies shot there, including “Black Widow” with Scarlett Johansson, “6 Underground” with Ryan Reynolds, “Terminator: Dark Fate” with Arnold Schwarzenegger, “Gemini Man” with Will Smith and “Dune” with Timothée Chalamet.