Pinewood Toronto Studios Opens Three New Soundstages

A boom in U.S. and Canadian TV series shooting locally has the mega facility adding stages to host more low-budget features and episodic TV.

CANNES - Pinewood Toronto Studios has three new soundstages now open for business.

The latest stages, each providing 10,000 square footage of production space, could allow the local Pinewood facility to host two tentpoles at once.

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A more likely scenario has Pinewood Toronto Studios taking on more low-budget features, or local and American TV shoots now dominating the city's production skyline.

"The three purpose-built stages are top notch quality, but available at a price that episodic TV can afford," Paul Bronfman, chairman of Pinewood Toronto Studios, insisted.

Gil Kenan’s Poltergeist remake from Ghost House Pictures and co-financiers and distributors MGM and Fox 2000 has booked into Pinewood Toronto Studios for a fall 2013 shoot.

But with the Canadian dollar weaker against the American greenback and Ontario offering lucrative tax breaks, Toronto has also become a go-to destination for U.S. series shoots.

That includes NBCUniversal properties like Warehouse 13, Suits, Hannibal and Covert Affairs and CW series like Reign and Beauty and the Beast all shooting locally.

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Pinewood now has in all 12 stages in Toronto, including two off-site, with the biggest being the 45,900 square foot mega-stage.

Pinewood Toronto Studios president Blake Steels said the three newest stages are slightly smaller than the others in his facility, but have similar soundproofing.

And they were built at a price-point to host smaller studio and indie movies, and single and multi-camera TV shows.

"This provides more depth in stage choice," Steels said.

That focus on pricing comes as the major studios eye a pull back on budgets for franchise picture shoots.

Bronfman said down-sizing in Hollywood wasn't a major factor when Pinewood Toronto Studio first started building the three new soundstages, but it is now.

"We're finding that everyone likes a deal. If they can fit into a smaller stage, they can use them," he insisted.

Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim shot at Pinewood Toronto Studios, and a possible sequel could be headed to Toronto, though likely with a smaller budget.

In the meantime, del Toronto is back in Toronto shooting The Strain TV series and will also direct Crimson Peak in the Canadian city from Jan. 2014, with pre-production starting this month.