Italy’s iconic Cinecittà Studios are set for a major overhaul involving many new state-of-the art soundstages, a bigger backlot and ambitions to become continental Europe’s top filming facilities thanks to a multi-million euro cash injection provided by the European Union’s post-pandemic recovery fund.
In June, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and Italian premier Mario Draghi (pictured above) jointly visited the Cinecittà lot and held a press conference in its vast Studio 5, known as the late, great filmmaker Federico Fellini’s second home, to announce a €300 million ($353 million) investment to “adequately meet the growing international demand” for studio space,” as Italian culture minister Dario Franceschini put it.
“We will build five new soundstages, two of which bigger than Teatro 5,” says Nicola Maccanico the former Warner Bros. and Sky Italia executive who in April was appointed chief of state entity Istituto Luce-Cinecittà, outlining his two-step plan under which in 2026 “we expect to have the new Cinecittà basically completed.” Maccanico is traveling to Cannes to drum up business.
Cinecittà’s two new bigger stages will be more than 3,000 square meters (32,000 square feet). Two additional stages will be between 1,000 and 2,000 square meters, and another will be under 1,000 square meters.
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Maccanico expects the first of these new spaces to be ready by 2023. Meanwhile, a large new led volume smart stage for virtual production will be ready at the start of next year, and a “very modern underwater stage” is also in the works.
The overhaul also entails refurbishing and revamping five other existing Cinecittà soundstages. The number of stages on the lot will rise from 19 to 24.
The second step of Maccanico’s plan involves the prospective entry as partner of Italy’s Cassa Depositi e Prestiti bank, which owns a plot of land next to Cinecittà. This would allow the studios to add 40 acres to its 99-acre backlot and, in turn, prompt construction of eight more soundstages, said Maccanico, who is in “advanced talks” to make this happen.
“Our ambition is to become the biggest studio in [continental] Europe,” said Maccanico. He noted that Italy has a “very competitive” 40% tax rebate for international productions, and great crews and artisans. “If we build studios with the right capacity, this can create great value for our country,” he said. Maccanico added that since he is keen to attract productions “now is not the time to be obsessive about profit margins.”
Recent U.S. productions shot at Cinecittà include a portion of MGM’s “House of Gucci,” and Showtime’s “Ripley” TV series is currently shooting there, according to sources.
The ongoing Cinecittà revamp also involves the studios being a training ground to nurture the tradition of Italy’s top-notch craftsmen, costume makers and other artisans.
In terms of investments, of the total €300 million ($353 million), €40 million ($47 million) is earmarked for the Centro Sperimentale Film School, which is on the lot, and €283 ($335 million) is for Cinecittà Studios, of which €100 million ($117 million) is for the prospective deal with Cassa Depositi e Prestiti.