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“La La Land” has sent droves of movie fans to Los Angeles locations featured in the Oscar-nominated picture, and now Warner Bros. is getting in on the act by resurrecting the coffee shop from the film for its studio tour.
Visitors on Warner Bros.’ $62 basic tour or $295 deluxe package in Burbank, California, can see a pop-up version of the store where Mia, played by Emma Stone, struggled to make ends meet while juggling auditions in Hollywood. “La La Land” was made by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., an independent film and TV company, but several scenes were shot on the Warner lot and Mia’s job in the studio coffee shop was part of the story.
The film has sparked visitor interest in a number of iconic Los Angeles sites, as well as businesses shown in the film, from the Griffith Observatory featured in the James Dean drama “Rebel Without a Cause” to the Lighthouse Cafe in Hermosa Beach. With Time Warner Inc.’s film division playing a role in the picture, tour patrons started asking guides about the movie, leading the studio to make it part of the attraction.
“Guests do ask,” said Carly Yates, a Warner Bros. spokeswoman. “They say, ‘Where’s the cafe?’ And it’s not a real cafe. It’s a facade.”
For Warner Bros., which has rented out its vast lot for other films, such as “Spider-Man,” it makes sense to call out “La La Land.” The film swept the Golden Globe Awards, is nominated for a record 14 Academy Awards and has taken in almost $300 million in worldwide ticket sales. With help from Lions Gate, the studio reconstructed the fictional coffee shop, which will be a part of the tour until March 6.
Seeing the key locations requires some driving and patience in Los Angeles traffic. It can take an hour and half to travel the 25 or so miles from Warner Bros. to the Lighthouse Cafe, a Hermosa Beach jazz bar frequented by Ryan Gosling’s character Sebastian. That’s near the city’s pier, where Gosling sings the film’s feature song, “City of Stars.”
Lighthouse General Manager Steven Grehl said his bar sales have spiked more than 13 percent in the past three months. He petitioned to keep the sign added by the movie’s production designers as a permanent part of the cafe after he noticed young people lining up to take pictures in front of it and plans to add more “La La Land” artwork and photos in the cafe.
“I want them inside,” Grehl said. “We’re going to ride this wave now. Regardless of what happens in the award season, we don’t think it will fade.”
Of course, to benefit from the attention, a business has to be open. The Rialto Theatre in South Pasadena, where Mia and Sebastian watch “Rebel Without a Cause,” has been closed for years except for a few private events, according to Escott Norton, founding president of a nonprofit group pushing for its restoration.
“People stop to take pictures almost every day, and all because of ‘La La Land,’ ” he said in an e-mail. “I’ve spoken to people from all over California, as well as New York, Texas and as far as Japan.”
The City of Los Angeles recently awarded the film a ‘Made in Hollywood Honor’ for location manager Robert Foulkes and others’ efforts to shoot almost entirely in Los Angeles. Other iconic sites included downtown’s Grand Central Market and a major freeway interchange south of downtown where the opening dance number is shot.
The fact that this movie was filmed locally “made a lot of people very happy,” said Kim MacMullan, president of the Hermosa Beach Chamber of Commerce.
–With assistance from Anousha Sakoui
©2017 Bloomberg L.P.
This article was written by Nicole Piper from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.