Last week, I had the pleasure of experiencing the new 25,000-square-foot expansion of the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood and it was incredible. The exhibit, titled Stage 48: Script to Screen, takes you behind the scenes of producing a film or television show, giving you a rare glimpse into Hollywood.
At the preview, stars like Clint Eastwood, Jon Cryer and director Zack Snyder walked the red carpet before heading inside to experience the new exhibition for themselves.
Stage 48’s entryway features the brand new Central Perk Café, named for the coffeehouse on the beloved TV show FRIENDS. I didn’t have a chance to try it out (there were drinks and appetizers everywhere we turned) but the décor was definitely memorable.
When you first walk into the exhibit, past images from film sets of past and present Warner Bros. films, you’ll enter the Screenwriting and Casting room. With scripts and headshots lining the walls, the truly spectacular part of this room is the interactive table in the middle—using the magic of touchscreen, select a celeb’s headshot to watch their casting videos spliced with the actual film or TV scene.
Continuing on was one of the most interesting rooms: filled with drawings of animated cartoons like Scooby Doo, Porky Pig and the Jetsons; miniature models of sets from INCEPTION, THE HANGOVER and more; the puppets used in THE CORPSE BRIDE and a full-fledged costume corner featuring outfits from MAN OF STEEL and SWEENEY TODD. Interactive machines allow guests to design their own Batmobiles or design costumes for popular movie characters.
Next up? Actual sets! Having seen every episode of FRIENDS, I was thrilled that Stage 48 houses the Central Perk set. Not only can you sit on the couch (definite photo opp!) but you can wander behind the counter as well. Around the corner, check out the famed foosball table and some clothes used during the filming of the show.
As you begin to learn about the tricks used by filmmakers, you’ll catch a glimpse of Harry Potter’s broomstick and the chamber Sandra Bullock used in GRAVITY. Ever wanted to know how they make the hobbits appear so small in LORD OF THE RINGS? A forced perception exercise on a reproduction of the set of Bilbos’ dining room allows guests to shrink or grow depending on the seat they choose.
From there, get ready to make some movie magic yourself. To demonstrate how green screens work, hop on Harry Potter’s broomstick, Batman’s Batpod or experience the GRAVITY chamber. They will take you on a digital tour of the movies’ universe and snap a souvenir photo at the end of your ride.
The last room is filled with movie artifacts—costumes like Wonder Woman’s suit and the Batsuit are in life-size glass casings while the walls are lined with wands and schoolbooks from HARRY POTTER, the bug extractor from THE MATRIX and much, much more. The room also showcases the company’s Academy Awards.
Upon exiting the exhibit, you’ll find yourself back in the entryway. Head to Central Perk Café for a drink or to the other side of the lobby to the Warner Bros. gift shop. We spent quite a while in here; so many goodies that are perfect for gifts (or youself!).
This expansion is such a treat for people of all ages. Kids and adults alike will get a kick out of seeing real pieces of their favorite movies and TV shows. The interactive elements provide a way for you to experiment with your own creativity and try your hand at the movie-making process.
The new expansion is a part of Warner Bros.’ already popular studio tour that gives the public a chance to explore real backlots and soundstages. Stage 48 opened to the public July 16 and is included in the standard tour price.