James Bond film studio to open 1st U.S. facility

Daniel Craig stars as James Bond in "Skyfall." Francois Duhamel/Columbia Pictures

The British film studio home to the James Bond franchise announced plans Monday for its first U.S. movie production facility at a site near Atlanta.

The large-scale film complex will be called Pinewood Atlanta and Pinewood will manage the facility under an agreement with a group of private investors. Plans call for the studio to be developed on 288 acres (116 hectares) south of Atlanta in Fayette County and include at least five soundstages as well as production offices.

Some of Hollywood's biggest blockbusters have been shot at Pinewood Studios, based outside of London, including entries in the "Alien," "Batman" and James Bond film series among many others. Recent films shot there include the upcoming Angelina Jolie film, "Maleficent," and "Jack Ryan," directed by Kenneth Branagh.

"Today's agreement is another step forward for the Pinewood brand internationally," said Ivan Dunleavy, CEO of Pinewood Shepperton PLC, which has studios in the United Kingdom, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Germany and Malaysia.

In this image provided by Pinewood Shepperton PLC, an artist's rendering of Pinewood Atlanta is shown.
AP/Pinewood Shepperton PLC

The Pinewood project is a major coup for Georgia and opens the state to major, big-budget films that need large studio space. While Pinewood Studios has an office in Los Angeles, it chose the Southeast for its first U.S. production facility.

Although California has numerous soundstages, not many have been built in recent years as the state has been grappling with the effects of runaway production and the lagging economy.

"Pinewood Atlanta's location will contribute significantly to Georgia's growing reputation as a top draw for movie and television productions," Gov. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) said. "We welcome the business this world-renowned company will bring to the state and the jobs it will create for our crew base and supporting companies."

Last year, productions filmed in Georgia generated an estimated $3.1 billion in economic activity, a 29 percent increase from the year before. TV shows such as AMC's "The Walking Dead" film in Georgia, and recently "The Hunger Games" sequel, wrapped up in locations around Atlanta.

The Pinewood project is a joint venture with River's Rock LLC, which is an independently managed trust of the Cathy family, according to the studio. The Cathy family is known for establishing the Chick-fil-A fast-food restaurant empire based in Atlanta. The chain last year generated both criticism and support when company president Dan Cathy made comments against same-sex marriage. The company later said it would stop funding groups opposing same-sex marriage.

"We are tremendously excited to be creating a world-class studio in the state of Georgia and are looking forward to working with Pinewood in the many years to come," said Jim Pace, managing partner of the investment group, River's Rock LLC. "The Pinewood brand is so well recognized in the global film industry and together there is a great opportunity to build an excellent facility that will attract the very best producers."

  • CBS News Staff

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