BROS. STUDIO TOUR
What is the best studio tour in Hollywood? Warner Bros. is not exactly in Hollywood, but over the hill in Burbank, but some consensus agrees it has probably the best pure movie studio tour. Universal Studio’s tour is much larger and more famous, but more of an amusement park, literally. The tour of the Warner Burbank Studio studio is more intimate and a look at one of the town’s busiest film lots. Where the universal tram makes a quick pass by the actual working studio on its way to the exhibits, at Warners you get a more close-up look at the stages where shows and movies are actually at work.
On the one hand, movie studios are glorified lumber yards where carpenter crews build sets and technicians hang lights, then a movie crew comes in for a few weeks and stars can be seen walking between the rows of sound stages to dressing trailers and back again. Messengers drive about in carts and background extras hang out waiting for coffee. On the other hand, they are concrete gardens where magic is made.
Warner Bros. has a long and gloried history, from Casablanca to Busby Berkeley to Batman and Fantastic Beasts. In the studio system days, Warners’ stars included Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney and John Wayne. Warner Bros. was the home of Clint Eastwood. His office is still there. Now they market properties from the DC Comics universe. On an exploration of the sound stages which go back to the 1930s, the history can be seen in the plaques outside the stage doors which tell you what movies or TV shows were filmed there.
For the entertainment side, the Warner Bros Studio Tour has recently added Stage 48: Script to Screen, an interactive sound stage where you can get a closer look at the phases of film and television production, to see how the real Hollywood magic is made. Tour guides will answer questions about the curious mysteries of production, from special effects to make-up, costuming and casting. The production sound stage has the still standing set of Malibu Beach House from “Two and Half Men” and the actual Russian Soyuz space capsule from “Gravity”.
Warner Bros has one of the world’s biggest inventory of props, many of them familiar. Where MGM and Twentieth-Century Fox sold off inventory of sets, and backlot real estate, Warner Bros. has remained essentially intact. The tour offers access to original props, costumes, picture cars, and sets used from Batman and the DC Comics Universe. The Batman Museum has iconic exhibits from the whole series of Batman eras, with the Batmobile Collection of various Batmobiles over the years. (except the TV show Batmobiles which have spread around the world in private collections). Also here is the original café set from the TV series Friends.
The DC Universe interactive experience includes the actual Belle Reve prison cell which held Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) in “Suicide Squad” where you can take a selfie as the character. Recent set pieces also include the Bat Lab in the Batcave from Ben Affleck’s turn in the cape in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice", along with the Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman costumes. Green screen sets allow you to film yourself in movie scenes, riding on Harry Potter’s Nimbus 2000 broomstick soaring over Hogwarts, or a Batman Batpod cycle, roaring through the alleys of Gotham. A motion capture machine lets you play yourself as an animated “Dobbie” Universal has Harry Potter’s “Wizarding World”, but Warner Bros. was the distributor of the film series. Here you can find the actual production costumes of Lord Voldemort, or get sorted into one of the four Hogwarts houses by the Sorting Hat. The gift shop is chock full of wizard wands for young Hogwarts fans, right next to Bugs Bunny and Wily Coyote.
For movie history buffs the Legacy Room illustrates the foundation of the studio’s four brothers Albert, Jack, Sam and Harry Warner, and an amazing collection of awards the studio has earned over the years of their Hollywood legend, with a collection of iconic costumes and props from some of the biggest movies and television shows in history.
The Tour Experience and Stage 48 is open from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm. Guided Tours start at 10am seven days a week all year except Christmas Day. If you’re hoping to see studio production activity, go during the week, as the weekends are quiet for production. Deluxe Tours run Monday to Friday. Ticket Prices are $65 adults and $52 Children for the standard 2 hour tour. The Deluxe Tour is $295, for 5 hours of behind the scenes intimate guided tour including breakfast and lunch.
Parking is at 3400 Warner Blvd. for $12. For public transportation,
bus lines run from Hollywood and Highland (Bus 222), Universal (Bus 155)
and North Hollywood Red Line subway stations (Bus 501). From Downtown
LA take the Red Line subway to North Hollywood © Bargain
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