Tyler Perry Opens Studio That's Bigger Than Other Major Studios Combined
The unveiling of the Tyler Perry Studios was on Saturday, October 5, 2019, in southwest Atlanta that is located on what was once Fort McPherson Army Base during the Civil War. The former confederate army base was where the south fought to keep Black people enslaved. It was an active military base from 1885 to 2011. The writer, director, and producer purchased the complex in 2015.
The 200 acres of green space include golf courses, ponds, and woodlands. There are 37 buildings and houses located on the 330-acre land. For example, 50,000 square feet of the site have replicas of a 16,000-square-foot mansion, a luxury hotel lobby, a White House replica. a hotel, a trailer park, and a real 1950s-style diner that was brought from a town 100 miles away. There is a main office that Perry calls “The Dream Building.” That particular building is the corporate headquarters. One floor is called “Set World” that contains several sets, including a replica of the White House's Oval Office. The building also has a cafeteria, a gym, and a security office that resembles a small NASA control center.
You will recognize some or all of the 12 accomplished African-Americans in the entertainment industry that Perry chose to name sound stages after in their honor.
- Harry Belafonte
- Halle Berry
- Diahann Carroll
- Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis
- Whoopi Goldberg
- Spike Lee
- Sir Sidney Poitier
- Della Reese
- John Singleton
- Cicely Tyson
- Will Smith
- Denzel Washington
- Oprah Winfrey
Perry said he informed Diahann Carroll a year ago that he was dedicating a stage to her. She said she would be there if she lived to see it. Carroll died on October 4, 2019, at the age of 84 just one day before the dedication.
First to Be a Solo Owner of Major Film Studio
When one sees the $250 million Atlanta studio Perry has built, it is hard to believe that over 25 years ago, he was living out of his car.
Perry will be able to house all of his projects under one roof. That's something he could not do with his first much smaller studio that was located on 60 acres in the city’s Greenbriar area that had only two buildings.
The much larger new studio will be the headquarters for many of the public's favorite television series that were formerly aired on OWN. They include The Haves and the Have Nots, “Love Thy Neighbor, and If Loving You Is Wrong.” The studio will also be able to accommodate numerous outside productions.
The grand opening of Tyler Perry Studios was attended by celebrities in the entertainment industry, Perry's personal friends, Atlanta's civil rights persons, other dignitaries, and journalists.
Major celebrities included all the 11 honorees who were given stages in addition to T.D. Jakes, Samuel L. Jackson, John Lewis, Beyonce, and Jay-Z. Other A-listers included Tiffany Haddish, Taraji P. Henson, Usher, Ludacris, Chris Tucker, and other well-known celebrities including cast members from many of Perry's films and television series..
Reactions From Celebrities Who Attended
Many who attended the grand opening of Tyler Perry Studios tweeted about their experience. Beyonce wrote a passionate note on social media about what the achievement meant to her. She indicated that she could feel our ancestors' presence. She added that she shed happy tears because the experience inspired her to dream even bigger.
Oscar-winner Spike Lee who has a sound stage named after him said, "Tyler Perry is doing stuff that's unprecedented and stuff that's never been done before."
Oscar-winner Viola Davis said Perry's accomplishment will also be an inspiration to others because he's a trailblazer." Actor Samuel L. Jackson acknowledged that Perry's studios will help young people in the community with their big dreams. They don't have to go to Hollywood to get their dreams fulfilled. They can now get the same experience locally.
Legendary actress Cicely Tyson, aged 94, said she was just so thankful to be there to witness Perry's vision come to life.
You know you have made it big when you have a highway sign pointing people to your location!
How Tyler Perry Studio Is Different
Critics argue that Perry is not the first African-American to do own a television studio. The mogul set the record straight by pointing out that he was the first to own a major film studio of that size by a solo entrepreneur. He doesn't have any partners or major companies supporting him.
"No other African-American has had something of this size, of this degree, without a partnership or conglomerate or some major company behind it."
It is larger than Warner Brothers, Walt Disney Studios and Paramount combined. He also points out that the major project is not for him alone. It is for others in the entertainment industry to use to help fulfill their dream as he has fulfilled his.
To prove that Perry is correct, Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, California is considered one of the premium studios in the country, but it is located on only 145 acres. Walt Disney Studios in Burbank is located on only 51 acres. Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California is located on 65 acres. That's a combined total of 256 acres. Tyler Perry's newly opened studios in Atlanta, Georgia is set on 330 acres.
The public is reminded that Black actor and director Tim Reid and his wife, Daphne Maxwell Reid, established New Millennium Studios in Petersburg, Virginia in 1997 and ran the 60-acre studio until it was sold last year. Another Black actor, producer, director, and writer Robert Townsend also purchased a television studio in Beverly Hills, California. He renamed the studio in 1990, and it was called Tinsel Townsend Studios. The facility was destroyed in an earthquake in the mid-1990s.