Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood is a public attraction situated inside Warner Bros. Studios, Burbank close to Hollywood and part of the greater Los Angeles area. It offers visitors the chance to glimpse behind the scenes of one the oldest and most popular film studios in the world over a two to three hour period.[1]

The studio tour in some form has been open for several decades, but it was recently renamed to give the Warner Bros. Studio Tours a more uniform identity after the success of Warner Bros. Studio Tour London in Leavesden. Previously it was known as the Warner Bros. Studios VIP Tour.[2]


First Tours

1024px-Studia Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. Studios

In the early days of Warner Bros. Jack Warner would welcome friends and special guests to the studio for tours. If Warner could not provide the tour himself, Mail Room employees were entrusted to show guests around the lot.[3] These tours were not offered to the public and could only be arranged through employees; however, they still proved popular. Consequently, Warner sought to limit requests as he thought studio tours could cause a "slow-up" of the company's operations.[4]

One Mail Room employee, Dick Mason, was noted for giving very informative tours and was frequently the requested guide for studio executive's guests. Mason's knowledge led him to be assigned to Jack Warner's office to assist the Vice President of Worldwide Production.[5][6]

Public Tours

In 1971 Warner Bros. faced financial hardships and signed a deal with Columbia Pictures, which was also struggling. They combined to create The Burbank Studios, a joint venture where they would share studio space.[7][8] In 1973 the new company opened a public facing Tour Department. Dick Mason was assigned to manage the new operation. All tours required an advanced reservation and cost $3.[9]

Mason's department included seven tour guides, and tours were limited to twelve people at a time. Tours were unscripted but included the back lots, sound stages, prop house, depending on availability.[10] Without a budget for advertising, news spread by word-of-mouth. The tour proved popular due to its unscripted nature and saw 15,000 guests a year.[11][12]

As compared to the Universal tour, Dick Mason was interested in educating the public about film-making: "The entire tour is practical. There are no demonstrations or simulations. We're not catering to families and kids. We just want to give insight to a business most people have misunderstands about."The tours departed about four times a day and were around three hours.

VIP Studio Tours

Studio Tour Entrance

Studio Tour entrance

Dick Mason retired from Warner Bros. in 2000 and Danny Kahn assumed leadership of the Tour Department. Kahn moved the location of tour to an office building previously occupied by Columbia Pictures across the street from Gate 5. He successfully pushed to increase the frequency of the tours but kept the size of the tour groups small and unscripted nature. The tour became more streamlined and began more aggressive advertising.[13]

Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood

In 2015 the tour rebranded itself with the launch of Stage 48: Script to Screen.[14] The expanded tour uses a new name, a new logo, and newer tour carts.[15]


Water tower WB (2)

Burbank's famous water tower

The tour is a mixture of guided and self guided where visitors are taken around the extensive backlot sets that include locations seen in Annie, Gilmore Girls, Jurassic Park and Blade Runner. Visitors also get the chance to explore a soundstage that houses sets, props and costumes from the Harry Potter films, Friends and the DC cinematic universe.[16][17]


The following are included in every Studio Tour:[18][19]

  • Soundstage - All tours include a visit inside at least one stage of a current production that is not actively filming. Frequent stages visited include those of The Big Bang TheoryThe Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Pretty Little Liars.[20]
  • The Backlot - A series of outdoor sets representing various location such as New York, a mid-western town, and a jungle.[21]
  • The Archive - A collection of props and costumes from Warner Bros. movies and TV shows, currently featuring assets from the Harry Potter movies and DC Universe: The Exhibit.
  • Picture Car Vault - A garage with cars used in film and television. Currently featuring Batmobiles from Warner Bros. movies.
  • Prop House - A four-floor warehouse of props and set dressings used by productions.[22]
  • Stage 48: Script to Screen - An interactive soundstage which takes guests through the production process. The soundstage opened July 16, 2015 and is the final stop on the tour.[23] Stage 48 is self-guided and includes the original set of Central Perk from the television show Friends where guests can take pictures on the couch. There is also a green screen video opportunity where guests can fly on a broomstick from Harry Potter or ride on a Batpod as seen in The Dark Knight. In addition to the attraction, the building includes a cafe and coffee shop themed to "Central Perk" from Friends as well as a gift shop.[24]

Special Exhibits

  • Batman 75th Anniversary - A special display which opened on June 26, 2014 in both the Archive and the Picture Car Vault. In the Archive, there were displays of props and costumes from every Warner Bros. Batman movie. Batmobiles and other Batman vehicles were put on display in the Picture Car Vault.[25] Beginning in September 2015, the Batmobile from the movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice joined the display when not used for filming.[26]
  • Horror Made Here - Opened for Halloween in Stage 48, the temporary exhibit included assets from The Exorcist, Interview with the Vampire, Annabelle, and other horror movies.[27]
  • "Mad Max: Fury Road" Costumes - Added to Stage 48 on February 24, 2016.[28]
  • DC Universe: The Exhibit - Located in The Archive, this exhibit replaced portions of the Batman 75th Anniversary display. It includes first issues of comic books such as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman as well as props and costumes from the films Batman vs Superman and Suicide Squad.

See Also


  3. Bingen, Steven (2014). Warner Bros.: Hollywood's Ultimate Backlot. p. 99.
  4. Bingen, Steven (2014). Warner Bros.: Hollywood's Ultimate Backlot. p. 100.
  6. Bingen, Steven (2014). Warner Bros.: Hollywood's Ultimate Backlot. p. 77.
  7. Bingen, Steven (2014). Warner Bros.: Hollywood's Ultimate Backlot. pp. 194–195.
  9. Bingen, Steven (2014). Warner Bros.: Hollywood's Ultimate Backlot. p. 100.
  11. Bingen, Steven (2014). Warner Bros.: Hollywood's Ultimate Backlot. p. 100.
  13. Bingen, Steven (2014). Warner Bros.: Hollywood's Ultimate Backlot. p. 102.

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