Yesterday, Universal Studios Hollywood made movie history yet again with the rebirth of its backlot production sets, a core section of which burned down just two years ago on June 1, 2008.
Yesterday, California notables and entertainment luminaries gathered on the Universal backlot to unveil the rebuilt New York Street and Studio Tour facilities, risen and rebuilt from the ashes of destruction. USH President and COO Ron Meyer hosted the event with special guests including Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Retired Fire Chief Doug Barry, along with director Steven Spielberg and production designer Rick Carter (Oscar-winner for Avatar) who were part of the 25-artist team remaking the new backlot.
The results herald four acres of a new 21st-century production environment featuring taller, larger building facades with state-of-the-art fire alert and prevention equipment, reinforced structures and interior spaces to expand filming options for features and television production. A reborn Courthouse Square joins all-new environment designs of Wall Street, Park Avenue, West Village, and the aptly named Phoenix Place along with a 1930s vintage Brownstone Street and a London Street. Areas to be completed by the end of June include a modern glass-and-steel Manhattan section, Paris Square, London Square and Central Park.
Also returning in all-new form is the Studio Tour’s KING KONG 360-3D attraction, a completely re-imagined concept by director Peter Jackson. Guests will wear 3D glasses to encounter dangerous jungle terrain, ravenous predators and the king of monsters himself in what will be “the world’s largest and most intense 3D interactive theme park experience.”
FilmEdge salutes Universal Studios Hollywood in not only reclaiming this lost piece of Hollywood history, but enhancing a new, reborn treasure of Hollywood cinema magic.
Props to Collider for their on-site article — see their site for backlot diagrams and official USH press release.