4 minutes read
“Hollywood is made here”
Embark on a journey to explore one of the most famous studios in Hollywood. Created in 1907, Warner Brothers Studio became one of the “Big Five” of American cinema. Explore its backlot, step in a soundstage, immerse into numerous exhibits, and more to discover his rich and long history. Here is a look inside the brand-new Warner Bros Studios Tour.
A pinch of History
- In 1907, four Polish immigrant brothers, Albert, Sam, Jack, and Harry, created their film distribution company.
- The first WB movie star was the dog Rin Tin Tin
- The Jazz Singer (1927) was the 1st talking movie
- Originally, the studio was located on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood
Introduction: Before starting your Studio Tour
A new building was built and completed in late 2020 early 2021 to encompass the new Studio Tour. From the parking structure, the elevator will lead you directly to the entrance on the 1st floor. Once you pass security, you can access the ticketing area.
Note: there is a Starbuck coffee inside if you need some refreshers.
When you get your ticket, you will enter a large room with a reduced-scale WB water tower. The floor represents the entire studio with all its facilities. It will give you a dimension of these 110 acres with its 30 soundstages and ten backlots. On the wall, there are brief storylines about the origins of the studio and its evolution.
The experience begins in a small theater with a 10 minutes trailer introducing the studio past and present. At completion, tour guides will introduce themselves and invite you to join their cart to start the backlot visit.
Tip: The backlot exploration lasts one hour. Plan accordingly if you need to use the bathrooms.
Visit the backlot
Your Tour guide will drive around the lot while commenting on the different areas with numerous information from movies and TV Show. Every tour is different; hence your experience will be unique.
Tips: If you are a fan, feel free to mention your favorite WB movies and TV shows to your Tour guide. He/She will adjust the visit accordingly.
During this specific Tour, I discovered:
- Henessy Street (Filmed there: Spiderman, Annie, Road to Perdition, Lethal Weapon 2, and Batman to name a few)
- Chicago (Featured in the TV Show ER with Georges Clooney)
- Midwest with its central gazebo, courthouse, church, and fire station (Featured in Gilmore Girls, Pretty Little Liars, Bonnie and Clyde, and more)
- The embassy Courtyard: a facade designed to look like any embassy or luxury hotel.
- Friends fountain. For the anecdote, the fountain was in WB ranch, a few miles from this studio. It has just been moved in the lot this year (2021).
- Stage 16, the world’s tallest soundstage (Filmed there: Dunkirk, Poseidon, Inception, Ocean’s 13, Casablanca, Rebel without a cause, Batman Forever, and Jurassic Park to name a few)
- Ellen Degeneres soundstage. We entered this soundstage and discovered where the audience sits and how is filmed a show with a live audience.
Tip: I recommend grabbing some water to beat the summer heat. Note that food and other beverages are not allowed inside.
[SPOILER ALERT: If you plan to visit, skip this paragraph]
What did I learn? Here are a few things
- The water tower is empty since the 1933 Long Beach earthquake
- The lot includes a gas station (which can also be used for filming), and a fire department
- To imitate the snow, they now use potato flakes. It’s comestible and better than white plastic
- Technicians can remodel trees according to the seasons. If it’s supposed to happen during winter, they will remove all foliage. For a spring filming, they will add leaves manually.
- Except for the WB Television building, there are no names on the facilities. That means the entire lot can be used and remodeled for filming purposes.
As this is an active lot, you will probably see filming crew including actors/actresses, technicians, writers, etc. The massive elephant doors are closed while shooting, a red light is flashing, and you can’t take pictures inside the soundstage.
Stage 48: Script to screen
Your Tour guide will leave you at Stage 48 to continue a self-visit. Stage 48 is an interactive soundstage to explore the phase of production with scripts, costumes, casting, sound effects, visual effects, and more. It is a great addition to the Studio Tour to explain pre and post-production. It also includes the famous café set from Friends and the sets from Big Bang Theory. Act like Rachel & Joe or Penny & Sheldon, and don’t forget to take a pic on their famous couches!
New to Stage 48: a giant set from the TV Show Friends! The café, the kitchen, the living room, are replicated for the fans. Immerse yourself into the décor to revive some iconic moments from the show. It will be your insta worthy shooting!
– A Friends boutique is including in these recreated sets with special Friends-themed merchandise.
– There is a Perk Café to enjoy a break before finishing your visit.
The Finale: New exhibits area
This exhibit area is NEW to the Studio Tour. The self-visit includes different parts: DC comics, Harry Potter, the Fantastic Beast, and the Oscar.
There are numerous costumes and artifacts from the superheroes and super villains’ DC movies.
Venture underground to discover Batman’s Batcave and Batmobiles, dive under the sea with Aquaman, and save the world with Wonder Woman and Superman.
Note: This section will probably evolve with new movie releases.
Step into Harry Potter magical universe. Relive some of the most iconic scenes of the movie and play with animated features.
Discover “Harry’s cupboard under the stairs*” and “Hogwarts acceptance letters in the Dursley’s fireplace ” *
Learn to make potions following specific magical books
Visit the Herbology Classroom and meet varieties of plants as well as Mandrakes
Take a seat to try the hat and discover to what Hogwarts House you belong to!
“And the Oscar goes to….”
It is your chance to hold an Oscar before finalizing your experience with Warner Brothers Studio Tour and reaching the store.
It is the Studio Tour! I hope you enjoyed this virtual visit!
Article based on my visit in June 2021
[This is NOT a sponsored article]
Ready to explore Warner Brothers backlot?
*COVD-19 update as of July 2021*
- Please wear a mask and respect physical distancing by 6 feet.
- Please check L.A County’s health and safety protocols before your visit
- Location: 3400 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, CA 91505
- Hours (starting July 15th, 2021): 9 am – 3:30 pm from Thursday – Monday. Closed on Monday-Tuesday and Christmas Day.
- Admission: from $57 (for SoCal residents) to $295 according to the tour package
- Age restriction: 5 years old minimum
- Duration: from 3 to 6 hours according to the tour package
- Parking: on-site lot ($15) or free limited street parking
- More information available at https://www.wbstudiotour.com/
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