“The on-screen dream machine lobby is more powerful in France than the construction lobby”

VSis, in its own way, a monument of French cinema. From Roman Polanski to Guillaume Canet, from Marie Antoinette To The Hunger Games, the studios of Bry-sur-Marne (Val-de-Marne) have hosted a good part of filming in France for thirty years on its 5,600 square meters of studios and its large spaces. But of course, twelve hectares of land fifteen kilometers from Paris and near a future Grand Paris metro station, this attracts covetousness. Especially at a time when ministers, professionals and associations are crying over the lack of housing construction, particularly in Ile-de-France, even evoking a “social bomb”. Nexity, the owner of the premises built by the former French production company, thought it would get away with a mixed project to build and maintain audiovisual activities.

The promoter finally chose to throw in the towel and sell this unique space to the insurer Axa, which promises to double the production capacity of the site to make it one of the largest studios in continental Europe. It will compete with the Cité du Cinéma in Saint-Denis and its 9,500 square meters of space. The on-screen dream machine lobby is more powerful in France than the real estate lobby.

It must be said that for an investor, this niche of production studios is very buoyant at the moment with the streaming boom. Thus, the Netflix platform invests billions of euros worldwide to produce local series. In France, it has committed 200 million euros per year to create more than twenty original works. Netflix has already created a giant ten-set studio near Madrid, Spain.

An island of prosperity threatened

It is therefore not surprising that real estate investors like Blackstone or Axa are rushing towards this island of prosperity at a time when commercial real estate is plunging into crisis. This has only just begun, according to a global study by real estate expert Knight Frank. He assures that half of the large multinationals he surveyed plan to reduce their office space by 10% to 20% within three years. Telecommuting continues to undermine office life.

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Like everything related to the wonderful world of the show, this craze could only have a time. Netflix is ​​pretty much the only streaming player making money, while the others are cutting back to mop up losses. Disney recently admitted having lost nearly four million subscribers in the first half of 2023. The Bry-sur-Marne site, which hosted the filming of the latest opus in the adventures of Asterix, will have to protect its perpetually threatened village for a long time yet.

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