Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood will return on June 26 with an expanded tour experience.
Located in Burbank - sandwiched between Universal Studios Hollywood and the Walt Disney Studios lot - Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood takes visitors through the studio's backlot and stage sets to learn about Warner Bros.' more than 100 years of movie-making history. When it reopens, the tour will feature a new Tour Center building, as well a new grand finale experience, "Action and Magic Made Here."
The tour will kick off with a new "Storytelling Showcase" that provides an overview of the studio's history, setting the stage for the tour around the lot. After that, visitors head into the tour's Stage 48: Script to Screen experience, which details the process of making filmed entertainment - from writing through post-production - while also giving visitors the chance to walk onto iconic sets from Friends and The Big Bang Theory.
From Stage 48, it's on to the "Action and Magic Made Here" finale, which features the DC and Wizarding World franchises with new interactive experiences, props, costumes, and photo ops. Highlights include an all-new Batcave, with the authentic Batmobile from Tim Burton’s original Batman, the Tumbler from The Dark Knight, and the Batwing from Batman v. Superman. Other DC photo ops include the Lasso of Hestia from Wonder Woman 1984 and Jared Leto’s Joker and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn costumes from Suicide Squad.
Wizarding World photo ops include Harry’s room under the stairs at 4 Privet Drive, a potion-making class, and Newt Scamander’s Shed of Magical Creatures. The finale also includes a Sorting Ceremony, where visitors will hear the Sorting Hat call out their Hogwarts house when it is placed above their head.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood will be open to visitors ages five and older. Upon reopening, the tour will be open on weekends, from June 26 through July 11, plus July 5. From July 15 onward, the tour will be open five days a week, closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Tours will depart every 30 minutes from 9am to 3pm. Tickets will be available on the tour's website.
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Warner Bros. is inching its way back into the theme park business, with its Studio Tours becoming more staged in an effort to provide a more consistent experience for guests, while also featuring the studio's most popular IPs.
Some people will appreciate that, and others would prefer the more unscripted experience of just seeing the sets.
Last I visited it, the Paramount tour remained more like what the WB tour was before it started to go the Universal route. If you can get on one of the D23 tours of the Disney lot, those are interesting as well, though they remain more focused on studio history than any active production (which is minimal at Disney beyond animation, which is increasingly being done at home anyway.) I haven't been on the Sony lot since I was a Jeopardy contestant, so I would be interested in hearing from anyone who's been on that tour.
I will say that it's nice that WB is one of only 2 studio tours I'm aware of (Universal Hollywood is the other) that allows children. My wife and I have been wanting to tour Paramount for years, but since we have had a child with us on our last 2 trips to California, that studio has been off limits for us.
I do fondly remember our tour of the Sony/Columbia lot that included a walk through of what at the time was the largest sound stage in North America, which was used for Titanic, The Perfect Storm, and was dressed at the time for Angels and Demons - though they explicitly prohibited photography inside for obvious reasons.
I think the Warner Bros. Tour is on of the best experiences in LA. I've done it three times and each visit has been slightly different. The last tour did feel more controlled as far as the timing went, and there was a huge corporate special event taking place on the back-lot that significantly limited our access to parts of the facility. I do enjoy the last part of the tour that features the "From the page to the screen" but I agree that it is feeling a lot like lining folks up for up-charged photo ops and such. The Friends set was a much better experience when it was mid tour than now at the end scattered in among others like the Big Bang stuff.
I will still never forget the thrill of walking down the street where the 76 Trombones number was filmed for The Music Man. That is the real appeal to WB for me. Universal is a great theme park experience about the Movies. WB feels like the chance to really step into a working production facility. I hope they keep that as their focus.
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I'm not of fan of this tour becoming even more scripted and regimented, mostly to sell add-on photos/videos and souvenirs. We've done this studio tour twice, most recently in 2019. I understand the need of a working studio to have the flexibility to utilize their property without the prying eyes of the public, but forcing tours into static, non-utilized spaces set up like a museum is not what I'm looking for when I visit. I like the spontaneity of seeing a filming crew working, seeing sets and backlots still being filmed today (and finding out where I've seen them), spying gaffers and carpenters modifying backdrops, or popping into a sound stage that is dressed for a current production. While designing a tour to be spontaneous while still consistent for all guests can be difficult, I think that should be the goal, not shuttling guests between obsolete sound stages full of display cases finished with a series of upcharge photo-ops and gift shop.
Our most recent experience with the WB tour was a mix of both real sets (walked into Ellen's soundstage and around the NY backlot) and obviously staged locations for the tour, with far more reliance on display cases and museum-like exhibits than our previous experience in 2007. The descriptions provided here make it sound like guests will barely see any of the actual working studio, which in my eyes is a disservice to the industry and the guests that support it.