LA still has the most soundstage space, but growth has been surpassed by Toronto, UK, NYC

Los Angeles County has more square feet of sound stage than New York and Georgia combined, and much more is on the way, according to the latest report from FilmLA, the City and County Film Permit Office.

LA’s 5.4 million square feet of stage space is higher than the United Kingdom (4.7 million square feet), the provinces of Toronto and Ontario (3.3 million square feet), British Columbia (2.8 million), New York (2.4 million) and Georgia (2 million).

Downtown Los Angeles Skyline
Everett Collection

Nevertheless, to meet the growing global demand for space to shoot film and TV shows, the expansion of soundstage infrastructure in the United Kingdom, Toronto and New York has advanced far more than LA in recent years. Since 2019, LA has grown by only 4% per square foot of sound stage, compared to 43% in Ontario, 34% in the UK and 33% in New York. According to the report, there was virtually no increase in the square feet of Georgia and British Columbia soundstages during that period.

FilmLA says it is currently tracking 14 new studio projects and / or studio expansions underway in Greater Los Angeles, including the ongoing expansion at Universal Studio Lot and CBS Television City and Warner Bros. New stage planned construction at the ranch.

“If all of these projects were built, the number of certified stages in the region would increase by about 27% and the square footage would be an unknown but substantial increase,” says FilmLA.

The expansion is receiving major support from the California Film and Television Soundstage Filming Program, which is establishing a new tax credit equal to 20% or 25% of the cost of making a worthy film over the next 10 years. Certified studio construction project. A total of $ 150 million has been allocated for this new credit.

The report noted that the planned and proposed studio expansion in LA County includes the construction of new studios:

  • Universal Studios, which is currently building eight new sound stages.
  • Warner Bros., which is expected to begin construction in the third quarter of 2023 in 16 new stages.
  • CBS Television City, which is expected to begin construction in seven new phases next year, is awaiting approval from the city.
  • Quixote Studios, which is set to open in June 2022 with five new steps and approximately 98,000 square feet.
  • Sunset Glenoaks, which is currently under construction and will open next year with seven new stages and approximately 126,000 square feet.
  • LA North (The View), which is set to open in the second quarter of 2022 with five new steps and approximately 107,000 square feet.
  • LA North (The Vista), which will also open in the second quarter of 2022, has two new stages and approximately 46,000 square feet.
  • Refram Studios, whose construction is expected to be completed by mid-2023, has three new stages and approximately 65,000 square feet.
  • East End Studios (Glendale Campus), with two new stages and approximately 38,000 square feet under construction.
  • East End Studio (Griffith Park Campus), with eight new steps and 102,000 square feet under construction.
  • East End Studios (Glendale Campus), with 38,000 square feet under construction with two new steps.
  • The Echelon Studios, which is 91,000 square feet in five steps, is awaiting City approval for construction next year.
  • 8th and Alameda Studios, awaiting approval from the City for the construction of 17 sound stages.
  • Blackhall Studios, which is awaiting approval from the City for the construction of 19 steps, including approximately 475,000 square feet.

“If all of these projects were to be created,” FilmLA says, “the number of certified stages in the region would be about 27% and the square footage would be an unknown but substantial increase.”

The report also looks at the occupation and use of certified sound stages in Greater Los Angeles by 2020, which led to the unprecedented, three-month-long shutdown of filming at the start of the Covid-19 epidemic.

The Hollywood Covid Protocol has been extended


Data from FilmLA’s 13 partner studios, including six Hollywood studios and seven major independent operators, shows that despite the epidemic, their sound stage occupancy levels were strong in 2020. Or to reduce the filmmaker’s demand for the Los Angeles Area Soundstage, “the report said.

The partner studios, which currently control 3.7 million of the estimated 5.4 million square feet of certified stage space available in Los Angeles County, account for 68% of the total local market.

“Across the property studied by FilmLA, the average annual occupancy rate was 94% in 2020, up from 93% in 2019 before the Covid-19 epidemic,” the report found. “Although most stage operators have reported to FilmLA that they have not lost a single leaseholder during the Q2 2020 shutdown, those who have suddenly found themselves in a vacuum have also found it easier to attract new customers.”

Other searches in the report include updates on the number of projects shot in phases, divided by project category, as well as calculation of phase and backlot-based shoot days. (Filmla defines a “shoot day” as the active use of a soundstage or backlight by a crew during all or part of a 24-hour period.)

“Significantly, just as the number of projects shot at the partner level decreased by 47% year-on-year (898 shoot days in 2020), the total number of stage-based shoot days decreased by 49.7% (6,191 shoot days) at the same time. “This is consistent with the decline in on-location production activity previously reported by FilmLA.”

The report, however, found that its studio partners, including access to backlets, saw a significantly higher level of use during the epidemic. “Backlot-based shoot days reported by study partners have decreased by only 15% from 2019 to 2020. Many studio partners have reported their backlets as complete, due to the preference of many production companies to shoot outside scenes in controlled environments whenever possible during an epidemic.”

Philip Sokolovsky, a spokesman for FilmLa, said: “We predict that we will see a high level of interest in stage and backlot use in LA County after returning from the 87-day epidemic production break.” “But it goes without saying that it was easy for our partners to say ‘yes’ to filming. Just as we saw with the on-location filming, there were new security-related protocols to apply, parking and logistics for mastering people, the challenge of PPE collection and new costs for exploitation. What this information really highlights is the resilience of an industry to integrate people back into work. “

According to the report, television series production, which is driving local demand for both the film permit and area stage, accounted for 72% of all stage and backlot-based shoot day activity in 2020, up from 62% in 2019. Filmla’s partner studios have reported that a total of 307 television series will be partially or completely filmed on their stage in 2020. Show numbers were almost evenly divided, with 155 one-hour and 152 half-hour series.

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