The Mandalorian’s L.A. Beach Studio Sells For Whopping $650 Million

An “exterior shot” filmed inside a MBS soundstage passes for late afternoon on Tatooine. Photo © Disney

It’s not all glamour at the ocean-adjacent Southern California movie studio in Manhattan Beach, California, where TV’s hottest Space Opera films.

No, really! It’s not all glamour.

But it’s pretty nice. So nice in fact, that the movie studio has just sold for $650 million.

“Good morning Sir!” They generally just wave me in here. Photo © MBS

The Carlyle Group is selling its Manhattan Beach Studios (MBS) Group, consisting of a sprawling film and TV studio and a production services platform, to Hackman Capital Partners for $650 million, according to a release from Hackman and Carlyle. The sale includes the 22-acre, 587,000-square-foot facility, where Disney shows and films such as the aforementioned Disney+ Star Wars series, “The Mandalorian,” and James Cameron‘s sequels to “Avatar” are among the projects currently booked.

The deal also includes the sale of MBS’s service platform, which brings production facility know-how to 259 sound stages in 35 different studios in North America and the United Kingdom.

When the beachy media campus opened in 1998, it had been 50 years since a new movie studio opened its guarded gates in Los Angeles County. MBS quickly became a busy “Hollywood” Dream Factory… with an ocean breeze.

And while not a Walt Disney Co. owned studio, the facility has some Disney Family heritage. It was built and held as an investment by Roy E. Disney, Walt Disney’s nephew. Roy E. was previously the instigator of the top-level management change that fundamentally changed The Walt Disney Company in 1984. He passed away on December 16, 2009.

Soundstages, and plenty of ’em, are important in the production of The Mandalorian. Not only are they used for routine “practical shots,” but also complicated captures that use state-of-the-art projection systems, a technique involving a sort of “live” compositing. Sometimes the shots are soundstage shots that mimic outdoor shots. Show-runners Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni have been at the forefront of this latest alliteration of what might be called the Digital Sets Revolution.

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The Mandalorian Brain Trust: Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni. Photo © Disney

The duo first used many of these techniques on the set of Disney’s The Jungle Book (2016). UnReal Engine and other visual technology, more associated with the gaming industry, play a big part in achieving the stunning visual backgrounds and realistic “digital sets.” The “electronic worlds” they create even have the sophistication to mimic parallax (the effect whereby the position or direction of an object appears to differ when viewed from different positions).

MBS has also been a base of operations 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 at the lot.

The techniques employed in filming The Mandalorian may differ from many shows, but… “this is the way.” Photo © Disney

There is no indication that the base of production for The Mandalorian will move due to the change of MBS ownership.

During a February conference call with shareholders, Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed that season 2 of The Mandalorian will premiere in October 2020

Please keep in mind… as interesting a place as MBS is, admittance is tightly controlled. Those not actively involved with an ongoing production will not be allowed entry to the facility. Unless… you know somebody really important. Like, Baby Yoda.

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