Lionsgate Expanding East Coast Production Presence Beyond New York/New Jersey to Atlanta

Lionsgate April 4 announced it has inked a third deal with Great Point Studios, a media-focused company specializing in film and television infrastructure, to become the anchor tenant in a new $200 million 40-acre production facility being built in Atlanta.

As anchor tenant, Lionsgate will have naming rights to the studio.  Lionsgate is also partnered with Great Point Studios on a studio facility in Yonkers, New York, with a second studio facility slated to open in Newark, New Jersey.

Lionsgate Studios Atlanta is located in Douglas County where some of the location filming was done on Lionsgate’s “Hunger Games” movie franchise  The facility will be up and running in late 2023.

The 500,000-square-foot, full service complex will include 12 large sound stages, office and support space, a back lot and parking for 400 cars and 100 trucks. The new media complex, which will be owned and operated by Great Point Studios, will offer a full set of production services on site, including grip and electric, equipment, props, set building, restaurants, location catering, cleaning service and security.

Lionsgate Studios Atlanta will be located less than 16 miles from the center of Atlanta and only 25 minutes from the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

“Lionsgate Studios Atlanta becomes our third state-of-the-art production complex with proximity to a major metropolitan area, allowing us to continue to scale our film & television production operations, create hundreds of local jobs and invest in regional economic growth,” Gary Goodman, Lionsgate EVP of television production, said in a statement.

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The studio facilities initiatives were shepherded for Lionsgate by Lionsgate CFO James W. “Jimmy” Barge.

Great Point Studios founder Robert Halmi is founder of the Hallmark Channel and a producer of more than 400 film and television projects.

“The state of Georgia has seen a record year in terms of film and television productions,” Halmi said in a statement. “With the rising demand for production facilities, a studio location in Atlanta was an ideal next step for our partnership with Lionsgate.”

Lionsgate’s Oscar Winner ‘La La Land’ Headed to Broadway, ‘Joy Ride’ to SXSW

Lionsgate Feb. 7 announced that six-time Academy Award-winning movie La La Land will be heading to the Broadway stage. The Santa Monica, Calif.-based studio is developing a musical based on the 2016 box office hit, which was written and directed by Damien Chazelle, and starred Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

The movie, which follows an aspiring actress (Stone) and a jazz musician (Gosling) as they pursue their dreams in Los Angeles, earned Oscars for best director, actress in a leading role, production design, cinematography, original score and original song.

The show will be directed by Tony Award and Drama Desk Award-winning director Bartlett Sher based on a book written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar and three-time Barrymore Award winner Matthew Decker. The stage adaptation will feature music by the film’s composer and two-time Academy Award winner Justin Hurwitz and lyrics by the Oscar and Tony-winning composing team Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

“La La Land in Concert” is currently touring worldwide in its sixth year.

“We’ve assembled a world-class team to create a musical that will delight La La Land’s millions of current fans and introduce the property to a whole new audience,” Emmy and Tony Award-winning producer Marc Platt said in a statement.

La La Land’s planned adaptation to the Broadway stage follows the launch of several live stage productions based on Lionsgate movie and television properties, including Dirty Dancing, Now You See Me, Wonder and “Nashville.”

The deal was negotiated for Lionsgate by Jenefer Brown, EVP, head of global products and experiences, and Eva Feder, EVP, business and legal affairs, and Stefan Schick at Loeb & Loeb.

Separately, Lionsgate said it would debut the global premiere of Asian comedy Joy Ride at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festivals March 17 in Austin, Texas.

Kino Lorber Sets Oct. 19 DVD Release Date for ‘On Broadway’ Documentary

Kino Lorber has announced the Oct. 19 DVD-only release of On Broadway, a newly produced documentary on the legendary Great White Way.

As audiences prepare for the return of live theater after the extended COVID-19 shutdown,  an all-star cast tells the inside story of the last time Broadway came back from the brink, through the early 1980s “Save the Theaters” campaign. This came after New York’s storied live-theater scene had been struck by economic downturns, cultural shifts and the AIDS crisis — as well as the threatened destruction of historic theater buildings by big-money Manhattan developers. On Broadway shows how this revival helped save New York City, thanks to innovative work, a new attention to inclusion, and the sometimes uneasy balance between art and commerce.

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The documentary includes interviews with such stage and screen icons as Hugh Jackman, Helen Mirren, Christine Baranski, August Wilson, James Corden, Alec Baldwin, John Lithgow, Viola Davis and Ian McKellen. They take viewers behind the scenes of Broadway’s most groundbreaking and beloved shows, from A Chorus Line to Hamilton.

Also included are archival clips of iconic performances by Lin Manuel Miranda, Patti Lupone, Bernadette Peters, James Earl Jones and Mandy Patinkin.

On Broadway was directed by Academy Award-nominated director Oren Jacoby.

Broadway has been slowly reopening, with some changes, according to CNN. Audience members need to show proof of vaccination and are required to wear masks. There are no longer intermissions or autograph opportunities at stage doors, and some show times are being condensed to about 90 minutes.

‘No Wave’ Classics ‘Subway Riders,’ ‘The Foreigner’ and ‘Unmade Beds’ Due on DVD Sept. 29 From MVD

Filmmaker Amos Poe’s “No Wave” classics Subway Riders, The Foreigner and Unmade Beds will come out on DVD Sept. 29 from MVD Entertainment Group.

“No wave” was a short-lived avant-garde music and art scene that erupted in New York City in the late 1970s as a reaction to punk rock. The term “no wave” was a pun on “new wave.” The movement only lasted a few years, but had a profound influence on the development of independent film, fashion and visual arts.

Subway Riders is 1981 drama shot in New York City following a psychotic street saxophonist who lures victims into dark city spots with his haunting music — then shoots them. Seedy characters, including a cop with a junkie wife, an upstairs sax-hating prostitute and other lost souls litter the landscape. Written, produced and directed by legendary “punk filmmaker” Poe (Alphabet City, Dead Weekend), the film features Cookie Mueller (Pink Flamingos, Desperate Living), Susan Tyrell (Cry Baby, Forbidden Zone), Robbie Coltrane (“Harry Potter” series), Poe and John Lurie (Get Shorty).

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The Foreigner, for the first time ever on DVD, is a 1978 New York drama following European Max Menace who arrives in New York City on an unknown mission. Boredom sets in as he waits for his assignment. Alienation thrusts him into entanglements with women, weirdos and creeps. Their unstructured lives echo the purposefully meandering storyline reflecting the reality of being meaningless in a hostile city. Written, produced and directed by Poe, the film features Debbie Harry (lead singer of Blondie, Videodrome), Poe, Lux Interior (The Social Network) and the punk band The Cramps as themselves.

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Also written, produced and directed by Poe, Unmade Beds, also starring Harry, is a 1976 drama following Rico in New York City, who imagines he lives in Paris during the time of “New Wave” filmmaking. He’s a photographer who thinks he’s an outsider, so he uses his camera like a gun, loading it with bullets of film. He seeks reality to fulfill his fantasy. But he’s also a romantic, and this is his downfall, especially when he falls in love with Blondie. The film pays homage to Jean Luc Godard as it parallels the French classic Breathless. It also stars Poe and Robert Gordon (Natural Born Killers).

Netflix Signs Lease to Keep Open Iconic New York Theater

Netflix has announced a lease agreement to keep open New York’s iconic Paris Theatre, one of the oldest art houses in the United States, and the last single-screen theater in New York. The theater was shuttered earlier this year and was re-opened earlier this month to a successful run of Marriage Story, by filmmaker Noah Baumbach.

Netflix plans to use the theater for special events, screenings and theatrical releases of its films. Terms of the lease were not disclosed.

“After 71 years, the Paris Theatre has an enduring legacy, and remains the destination for a one-of-a kind movie-going experience,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, in a statement. “We are incredibly proud to preserve this historic New York institution so it can continue to be a cinematic home for film lovers.”

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The Paris Theatre first opened in 1948, when actress Marlene Dietrich cut the ribbon to commemorate the occasion. The theater, opened by Pathé Cinema, originally showed French titles, the first of which was La Symphonie Pastorale, which ran for eight months.

The Paris became a symbol of prestige cinema, known for showcasing specialized films, and can be credited with introducing renowned foreign-language films to an American audience, including Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, which ran for almost a year from 1968-1969; Claude Lelouch’s A Man and a Woman; and Marcello Mastroianni’s comedy Divorce Italian Style, which played for more than a year. The theater closed in August 2019 after a successful run of Ron Howard’s Pavarotti.

Comcast’s Sky Studios Bowing Production Facilities in the U.S.

With media companies scrambling to create localized content worldwide, Comcast-owned Sky Studios in the United Kingdom reportedly is launching production hubs in New York and Knoxville, Tenn.

Dubbed The Hive, the facilities will cater to Sky Studios and third-party companies offering myriad production services, including casting, gear, wardrobe, set design, transcription, media management and staffing, among other services,” according to, which first reported the move.

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The facilities will be headed by Comcast subsidiary Jupiter Entertainment and its former senior executive Robert Twilley. At Jupiter, Twilley managed production and business for more than 75 series.

Robert Twilley

“Launching The Hive is the next step in our ambition to make Sky Studios a world-leading creative and production force and home to the industry’s best talent,” Jane Millichip, chief commercial officer at Sky Studios, said in a statement.

Jane Millichip

Sky Studios, which produced the acclaimed “Chernobyl” mini-series for HBO, has more than 50 shows in production globally.

Millichip says the expanded production hubs in the U.S. will expedite “great ideas and unique stories” into production sooner.

“Under Robert’s leadership, The Hive will quickly become a vital resource for the industry with ambitious plans for expansion,” she said.

WarnerMedia Readying ‘Friends’ Pop-Up Retail Store

WarnerMedia Aug. 2 began selling tickets to a “Friends”-themed pop-up retail/promotion store running Sept. 7 to Oct. 6 in Manhattan, N.Y.

Created by Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Warner Bros. Television Group and Superfly — the latter responsible for “The Seinfeld Experience” store operating through February 2020 in New York — the concept targets consumer interest in TV nostalgia, memorabilia and show artifacts surrounding the 25th anniversary of the “Friends” sitcom debut Sept. 22, 1994, on NBC.

The situation comedy about six friends in their 20s and early 30s living in New York City starred an ensemble cast that included Courtney Cox and then-unknowns Jennifer Aniston, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow and David Schwimmer. It aired in primetime until May 6, 2004.

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Located in the heart of Manhattan’s SoHo district, the ticketholder entrance will be at 76 Mercer St. (between Spring & Broome), and the retail store entrance will be at 503 Broadway. Store hours are seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fans can reserve a time slot to visit with a ticket purchase priced at $29.50.

“The fascination and universal appeal of the TV series lives on with fans of all ages,” Peter van Roden, SVP, Global Themed Entertainment, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, said in a statement. “As we celebrate the show’s milestone anniversary, we are excited to bring the ‘Friends’ experience to life for our fans in a way that pays homage to the remarkable cast of characters, iconic sets and instantly quotable moments.”

WarnerMedia Innovation Lab Becomes Reality with Pending 5G New York Office Construction

WarnerMedia June 17 announced the location and architecture firm for its pending WarnerMedia Innovation Lab New York headquarters — powered by parent AT&T’s upstart 5G wireless network.

The Lab, which aims to address changing consumer media habits creatively and from a marketing/advertising perspective, also announced further details on its partnerships with WarnerMedia Ad Sales and with Xandr, AT&T’s advertising and analytics company.

The 20,000 square foot facility located in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, will feature an immersive zone for showcasing consumer-ready experiences visible to the public, flexible indoor and outdoor event spaces, dedicated R&D environments and an open and collaborative modern work space.

“The Lab is more than a technology incubator, but also a dream factory for us to create the wonderment that fans have come to love and expect from WarnerMedia,” Jesse Redniss, GM, WarnerMedia Innovation Lab, said in a statement. “Here we’ll flex the best of WarnerMedia’s creative storytelling capabilities combined with cutting edge technology from AT&T and our partners to deliver experiences that will be talked about for a lifetime.”

WarnerMedia properties include Warner Bros. Studios, HBO, Turner and Otter Media.

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The Lab, which is slated to open in early 2020, will bring 5G experiences to life through exploration and development initiatives, enabling a real-time virtualized collaboration ecosystem across WarnerMedia and the AT&T offerings.

In addition to the New York-based Lab, AT&T 5G initiatives include Warner Bros. in Los Angeles in time for AT&T SHAPEThe Lounge by AT&T in Seattle and WarnerMedia’s Atlanta studios.

“By working across AT&T, we’re able to combine the latest in 5G technology with immersive content experiences and cutting-edge advertising capabilities,” said David Christopher, president of AT&T Mobility and Entertainment. “The WarnerMedia Innovation Lab will be a space where developers, creators and visitors will be inspired to push the boundaries of entertainment, all powered by the company that first introduced the U.S. to the power of mobile 5G.”

Netflix Expanding New York Presence With New Office, Production Facility

Amazon may have left, but Netflix is expanding its New York state of mind.

The SVOD behemoth April 18 announced it is spending $100 million for a new production facility in New York, that also includes office space for 127 executives in content, marketing and production.

The streaming video pioneer will also inhabit a Brooklyn-based production space with six sound stages and the capacity to house thousands of jobs within five years.

“Netflix is innovative, creative and bold — just like New Yorkers — and the expansion of this cutting-edge company in New York once again demonstrates the Empire State is open for business,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

Netflix’s new corporate offices will take up approximately 100,000 square feet at 888 Broadway in Manhattan’s Flatiron District. The offices will house the aforementioned executive positions in addition to Netflix’s 32 current New York-based employees.

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The company — which has a long history of production in New York including “Orange Is the New Black,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” She’s Gotta Have ItThe IrishmanSomeone Great, “Private Life” and “Russian Doll” — has also leased approximately 161,000 square feet to build six sound stages at 333 Johnson Avenue in Brooklyn.

“Thanks to Netflix, online streaming has become as commonplace as cable television, and maybe even more accessible — and their decision to expand in New York is a validation of our work to support and develop New York’s technology, entertainment and production industries,” said Empire State Development commissioner Howard Zemsky.

To support Netflix’s infrastructure expansion, Empire State Development offered up to $4 million in performance-based tax credits over 10 years, which are directly tied to real job creation. To receive the full incentive, Netflix must create the 127 jobs by 2024 at its new executive production office and then retain those new jobs and their existing 32 office jobs for another five years.

The tax incentive pales in comparison to the billions offered Amazon, which ultimately pulled out of its Long Island headquarters expansion following political pushback.

Labor leaders applauded the news.

“Hardworking crew members are the foundation of New York’s film industry, and this project invests in their future,” said John Ford, president of Motion Picture Studio Mechanics Local 52, I.A.T.S.E.

“There are few companies in our industry that are as forward thinking as Netflix,” said Tom O’Donnell, president, Theatrical Teamsters Local 817. “With this news, we’ll continue to add solid, middle class jobs to already record employment. The climate for this to happen would not exist without the wildly successful New York State Film Tax Credit Program — and I applaud Governor Cuomo for his foresight and continued support.”