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Universal to re-open backlot, production resumes mid-summer

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  • Universal to re-open backlot, production resumes mid-summer

    Universal to re-open backlot

    Production will resume mid-summer

    BY Marc Graser
    Variety

    Universal will re-open its backlot this summer, nearly a year after a fire destroyed four acres of the studio.

    Rebuilt locations include its popular Courthouse Square, Brownstone and New York streets. Production will resume on those sets mid-summer.

    Studio also added sets while redesigning the lot, such as a gas station, a firehouse, a London Street, as well as a modern urban cityscape, complete with glass and steel facade structures. That cityscape will be the largest modern urban backlot shooting location in Los Angeles, the studio said. Additional sets will remain in construction and are planned to open in 2010.

    Altogether, the new and re-built locations will be featured on the Universal Studios Hollywood Studio Tour, as will the recently renovated sound stage that will house "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien," beginning June 1.

    U said the new sets were built to "meet contemporary film production needs" and designed with the assistance of filmmakers and art directors.

    While last summer's fire, ruled an accident, destroyed key facades and the King Kong theme park attraction, other locations like the "War of the Worlds" set, Western Streets, European Street, Mexican Street, the Psycho House and Bates Motel, as well as Wisteria Lane, seen on "Desperate Housewives," were untouched by the fire.
    Universal to re-open backlot - Entertainment News, Film News, Media - Variety
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  • #2
    Re: Universal to re-open backlot, production resumes mid-summer

    This is excellent news! I love the Universal Studios Tour. The adding of new sets is great. I just wonder what they will do to replace Kong.
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    • #3
      Re: Universal to re-open backlot, production resumes mid-summer

      More from their press release:

      During the reconstruction phase of the backlot, Studio Tour guests will experience a panoramic view of the construction and dramatic transformation taking place at the historic studio. The Studio Tour is a signature attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood, The Entertainment Capital of L.A., and is also being upgraded this year to feature a Hi-Definition TV digital system, with new flat-screen HD monitors installed in each Tram car. The new monitors will feature commentary from filmmakers and stars and clips from movies and TV productions, many created especially for the Studio Tour and all corresponding to the sites visited along the Tour route. Because the Tour is constantly changing to accommodate movie and TV production schedules, a custom Hi-Definition playback system was designed to allow for the selection of material from the hundreds of clips created for the Studio Tour attraction.
      Universal Studios :: Classic Movie Sets and New Shooting Locations To Open at Universal Studios in Mid-Summer, One Year After Four-Acre Studio Fire
      "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

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      • #4
        Re: Universal to re-open backlot, production resumes mid-summer

        Sounds like there will be no ride through audio animatronic show component, they are just building some new streetscapes that may or may not have crews shooting when the trams go by. And if they are shooting, of course the tram will be diverted far away... So until something exciting is shot there, it won't be a highlight to drive past the way that Kong was for the visitors. I wonder if Al Lutz will pick up on this in his next Disneyland-Universal report. When is Al going to give us an update, anyway?

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        • #5
          Re: Universal to re-open backlot, production resumes mid-summer

          Originally posted by Dustysage View Post
          This is excellent news! I love the Universal Studios Tour. The adding of new sets is great. I just wonder what they will do to replace Kong.
          Doesn't sound like anything robotic or that can be billed as an "attraction".

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          • #6
            Re: Universal to re-open backlot, production resumes mid-summer

            Seems like for now they'll the 2011 Transformers attraction be the-one-to-wait-for.

            No announcement has been made on rebuilding King Kong. The vault is under construction.

            General Electric Co. says in its fourth-quarter earnings that media subsidiary NBC Universal Inc.'s film and parks unit reported a $225 million gain from insurance benefits relating to the fire.
            Universal Hollywood to open rebuilt sets in summer - USATODAY.com
            "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

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            • #7
              Re: Universal to re-open backlot, production resumes mid-summer

              Yeah, as far as I've heard, there will be no direct "replacement" for Kong. Just more backlot sets, to be used for filming (and tours, when not in use).

              And the tram tours already have TV monitors. Maybe it'll be an upgrade to the picture quality and clip selection, but in general, it's hardly anything "new". Not sure why they'd go into so much detail to promote something they essentially already have.
              Does anyone even bother with signatures anymore?

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              • #8
                Re: Universal to re-open backlot, production resumes mid-summer

                Instead of MUTING over the non applicable segments of the video, they can pick what they want to air on the trams. Seems like a plus, as the old method ended up playing the wrong scenes for the area where the tram was located.

                They change up the tram course as filming moves around, so it makes sense to me.

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                • #9
                  Re: Universal to re-open backlot, production resumes mid-summer

                  Very sad that they're not rebuilding an attraction piece like Kong was. That has to be the biggest loss to me of that set. I really wish they'd taken the time to put a new and improved Kong in there.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Universal to re-open backlot, production resumes mid-summer

                    I heard they were going to replace it with a scene from the new Kong (were Kong is fighting the T rexs) but we'll see. I hope the new clips are random and what I mean by that is have 2-3 different clips from one area so every time you go on it theirs something new.
                    Happy Halloween!!!

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                    • #11
                      Re: Universal to re-open backlot, production resumes mid-summer

                      From January 30th In the Parks article here at MiceAge.

                      http://micechat.com/forums/blogs/in-...more-news.html


                      Universal Studios Hollywood had a 4% increase in attendance in 2008. (Universal Orlando had a 4% decrease).

                      NBC Universal operating profit declines 6 percent - Forbes.com

                      And Universal Studios Hollywood is getting a lot of new stuff in 2009.

                      Along with the new Musical, The Creature of the Black Lagoon coming the Spring. USH will also be the home of the Tonight Show when Conan O'Brien moves from New York to the West Coast this summer. (In case you didn't see the news, Jay Leno will remain in Burbank, with a 10 PM show weekdays). Plus the "New" New York Backlot area should be finished sometime this summer.

                      And based on what I know, Brady MacDonald over at the LA Times contacted Universal directly due to what he read at MiceAge, and confirmed what I wrote last week.

                      Universal Studios Hollywood to reopen fire-ravaged backlot by mid-summer - Travel - LATimes.com

                      And then Variety picked up on the LA Times story...

                      But you heard it here at MiceAge first!
                      Check out my Theme Park Photos at http://darkbeer.smugmug.com

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                      • #12
                        Re: Universal to re-open backlot, production resumes mid-summer

                        From June 3, 2008

                        USH 'Creature from the Black Lagoon - The Musical' show
                        http://micechat.com/forums/non-disne...ical-show.html

                        From October 7, 2007

                        Separately, NBC Universal confirmed that "The Tonight Show" is remaining in Los Angeles when Conan O'Brien takes over the show from Leno in 2009. With the Burbank facility on the block, the network is expanding and upgrading Studio One, a sound stage on the Universal Studios lot that was built in 1961 for the "Jack Benny Show," to be the new home of the late-night program. Other memorable productions, including "Jurrasic Park" and "The Incredible Hulk," as well as the 1980s television show "Knight Rider" were also shot there.
                        Disney's neighbor NBC bails on Burbank
                        http://micechat.com/forums/news/8015...s-burbank.html
                        Last edited by ALIASd; 02-05-2009, 08:52 AM.
                        "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

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