Spanish Studio Where 'The Impossible' Was Shot Hits the Auction Block

The Impossible Holland Watts Log - H 2012
Summit Entertainment

The Impossible Holland Watts Log - H 2012

The sale follows an EU decision that state subsidies made the studio's rates unfair, forcing the facility to pay back $345 million.

The regional government of Valencia, Spain, will auction off the state-of-the-art studio complex Ciudad de la Luz, which it owns and which boasts the natural-horizon water tank used in 2012's The Impossible, for a target price of €94.4 million ($104.4 million).

The move comes after European antitrust authorities ruled in 2012 against the blue-chip property, saying it had to pay back $345 million in state subsidies it had received that had made its prices unfair to competitors.

Bids are to be presented within the next two months, with a final decision set to be made in June pending European Union approval. Valencia said it won't accept less than 50 percent of the target price.

The regional government has divided the studio complex into seven parts, which can be sold separately or in clusters. This is the second time the government has put the complex up for sale after a lack of buyer interest in the first attempt. The regional government also said it would not give any priority to film or television use. The need to sell has been widely seen as a huge failure for what was expected to become a go-to studio in Europe.

“It’s not the presentation we would have liked because we wanted it to be in one package in its entirety,” said the studio’s general manager, Miguel Mazan. “But it could be a good moment because there is a lot of liquidity in the market and investors are looking for where to invest.”

Billed as the world’s only natural-horizon water tank, the 13 million liter tank was the crowning jewel of what was expected to be a one-stop-shop filming haven in Alicante, Spain — with its micro climate of some 350-plus sunny days a year, two enormous sound stages, 30 acres of natural backlot, a film lab and post-production facilities.

In addition to Juan Antonio Bayona’s tsunami thriller The Impossible, Ciudad de la Luz was home to Bruce Willis-starrer In the Cold Light of Day and $100 million feature Asterix and Obelix at the Olympic Games.