One of the oldest studios in Europe, Cinecittà Studios in Rome, is set to be transformed into a luxury tourist destination to combat its €4 million debt. Nearly 200 film production workers have occupied the studios in protest since the 4th of July.
The €175 million plan to transform the studio to boost revenue includes building a five-star hotel and spa and an amusement park, CinnecitàWorld, which is expected to draw 4 million visitors per year. Management posits that their new plan will turn Cinecittà into a state-of-the-art studio offering higher-level amenities for filmmakers.
After studio management was privatised in 1997, the corporate owners, the Italian Entertainment Group, have produced many films, but utilised Cinecittà less because it has higher production costs than other studios in Italy. European film production on the whole has increasingly shifted to Eastern Europe to cut costs.
Film production at Cinecittà will be further slowed down by the project, and the management company plans to outsource film production workers to its other holdings to cut costs during the transition.
Cinecittà, which was once known as "Hollywood on the Tiber", has produced some of the best known films in Italian, British, and American cinema, including Ben Hur, La Dolce Vita, The English Patient, Life is Beautiful, and Gangs of New York.