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It was a long COVID-19 closure for the famed Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Burbank, California, but it opened to the public once again today, having spent that downtime completely renovating the backlot tour. With a brand new welcome center, the only Warner Bros. Studio retail store in operation, and new TV series and film-centric museum experiences, it's a completely refurbished look behind-the-scenes of the still operating studio and its almost 100-year old facility.
Along with other select outlets, SYFY WIRE was invited to take an early look inside the tour. It still includes the individual cart tours with a docent, but now there are more stops including a post production experience, a Friends-themed cafe, and a massive soundstage featuring a new Harry Potter Wizarding World area. There's also an immersive look at many of the studios' props, costumes, and vehicles from its DC Comics' library of superhero films, from Tim Burton's Batman (1989) to Wonder Woman 1984 (2020).
All tours now begin in a welcome stage that features a miniature model of the entire 110-acre studio lot on the floor, perfect for a bird's eye view of all the soundstages, creative buildings, and exterior sets used for the last 95 years. There's also a smaller reproduction of the famous Warner Bros. watertower. Inside of the room is a breakdown of the various creative departments within the studios including animation, television production, New Line films, and even heirlooms from the Warner family archives.
A short golf cart drive onto the lot brings you to to the new post production experience, which lets guests have a step-by-step, hands-on look at how a film or TV series is put together after filming. There are ADR tutorials and basic editing lessons, all of which culminate in the newly expanded Central Perk Cafe from Friends. There are also reproductions of the main Friends sets and a store.
One more short drive through the live soundstages takes guests to the Action and Magic Hall, which is truly a feast for the Harry Potter and DC superhero fans. With photo ops, interactive digital displays, and tons of Easter eggs throughout, guests can get lost in the hands-on presentation of the iconic costumes and vehicles from most of the live-action DC films released throughout the last three decades.
At the end of the tour, director Patty Jenkins came out to talk to the gathered journalists about the inclusion of her Wonder Woman films in the new tour, and the overall importance that the lot has for filmmakers and movie buffs.
"Warner Bros. has always been sitting on such a tresure trove of legendary history," Jenkins enthused about the studio. "It's always been hard to understand what to do with it. When I get to walk around the lot and realize that I'm shooting in the same place Casablanca was shot, or A Streetcar Named Desire was shot, what do you do with that? The movies we all worship happened right here, and I think it's incredible that people get to come in and look at the photos, look at the props, and even the Warner's address book. Our entire city is based on the film industry, and what a major anchor Warner Bros. has been to anchoring that industry."
Jenkins said getting look at all of the costumes and props from her Wonder Woman films in the Action and Magic Hall takes her back to making both films. And that includes the tour's magic lasso and gold armor photo opportunity.
"Each of those objects represents something a great artist would make and I would labor over making notes on, and seeing new versions [of it]. Particularly, like the wings from Wonder Woman 1984, we actually made those wings on set. We didn't really need to because you could just do them in CG, but we did. And everything from the curvature of the line at the top, I saw you really got that right," she said about how the curators reproduced their film-accurate look.
The public can make reservations for the Warner Bros.Studio Tour for weekends, from June 26 through July 11, with the Tour also open on July 5. From July 15 on, the Studio Tour will operate five days a week with no appointments for Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Check out our photo gallery of the DC side of the Action and Magic Hall. And look for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter experience next week: