(September 14, 2000 – Burbank, CA) - Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank will open its first new exterior set in almost 20 years, Downtown Plaza, at a ribbon cutting ceremony this evening. "Downtown Plaza will satisfy a number of production needs with its modern facades and versatility, while providing the benefits of working in a controlled studio environment," said Jon Gilbert, President, Warner Bros. Studio Facilities. "It’s a great addition to our varied collection of backlot sets and since it’s the only one of its kind around Los Angeles, we’re sure it will be one of our most used as well." The largest permanent metropolitan exterior set on any Southern California studio backlot, Downtown Plaza is the first permanent exterior set the Warner Bros. has built in nearly two decades. Downtown Plaza is a grouping of contemporary "high-rise buildings" surrounding a usable street and park, available for use by Warner Bros. Television, Warner Bros. Pictures and outside production companies. The set includes a number of distinct facades, including a smoked glass atrium, a wide bank of chrome and glass swinging doors, outdoor café area and a brass and marble deluxe entryway atop a broad-based staircase. Another distinctive feature of the set is glass-walled lobby space, usable for interior shots with a number of exterior backgrounds. The unique U-shape of the set allows myriad camera angles, as most shots will automatically have a building in the background and/or across the street. Downtown Plaza joins Warner Bros.’ impressive array of exterior sets, which are some of the most realistic and distinctive in the industry. Among the many sets housed at the 110-acre studio in Burbank are Brownstone Street (a block of upscale residential walkups, seen in “ER”), French Street (a section of European storefronts once used as the setting of 1940s Paris in “Casablanca”), Hennesy Street (1920s New York tenements also used as the backdrop for Gotham City in three of the Batman films), the jungle (surrounding a cabin by a large lagoon, the only jungle set left in Hollywood and “home” to Budweiser’s frogs ), Laramie Street (one of the last standing western town sets, with a saloon, hotel, bank, jailhouse and church), Midwest Street (best known as River City in the “Music Man”), and New York Street (originally built for the 1920s gangster movies).
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