Manhattan Beach Studios, Home to 'Avatar' Sequels, Sells for $650 Million

Manhattan Beach Studios - H - 2019
Hackman Capital

The 22-acre complex was sold to Hackman Capital, which also recently acquired the CBS Television City facility.

The SoCal film and TV production hub that has hosted James Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment as well as Marvel Studios shoots is getting a new owner. 

The 22-acre Manhattan Beach Studios, which houses multiple sound stages in its 587,000-square-foot facility, was sold to real estate firm Hackman Capital from its current owner, investment company The Carlyle Group, in a $650 million deal, the companies said Wednesday. 

Manhattan Beach Studios, which opened in 1998, has been a base for multiple Marvel Studios films since inking a deal in 2008 to film Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers. The complex unveiled a renovation (and rebranding to MBS Media Campus) in 2010 that added a New York City street backlot and other upgrades. At the time, CSI: Miami and America's Funniest Home Videos, among other series, were made at the complex. 

In 2011, Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment struck a lease agreement to make the Avatar sequels at the complex. More recently, Lucasfilm's The Mandalorian, a Star Wars spinoff series for the forthcoming Disney+ streaming service, had been filming at the facility. 

The deal is the latest buy for Hackman Capital, which spent $750 million in December 2018 to acquire the 25-acre CBS Television City facility in Los Angeles, where The Late Late Show, The Price Is Right, The Young and the Restless and other shows shoot.

Hackman has also owned the century-old Culver Studios in Culver City, where E.T. and The Matrix were filmed, since 2014. The firm has said it plans a renovation of Culver Studios with an aim to double its size to 720,850 square feet. Amazon Studios is set to be the anchor tenant of the facility. 

Hackman, and investment partner Square Mile Capital, is also acquiring MBS Services, which operates 259 stages worldwide. Carlyle had owned Manhattan Beach Studios since 2007, when it made a deal with Oaktree Capital Management.  

"The MBS Group has become the premier platform for content producers around the world and we are thrilled to add the MBS Media Campus to our growing portfolio of studio and media assets," stated Michael Hackman, CEO of Hackman Capital Partners. "As competition for content continues to increase, we see tremendous opportunities to grow this real estate platform globally with MBS’ experienced and first-rate management team."