The company formerly known as Blackhall Studios announced a new name and a new investor on Tuesday, as it pursues an ambitious construction agenda in Georgia, Los Angeles and the United Kingdom.
The company — which was bought last year by Commonwealth Asset Management — will now go by Shadowbox Studios. The company’s new investor is Silver Lake, the global private equity firm, which has agreed to put $500 million toward a $1.5 billion capital investment plan.
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Shadowbox has grown rapidly since its founding just five years ago. Ryan Millsap launched the firm’s first production facility in Atlanta, where it was able to capitalize on Georgia’s 30% tax credit. The first film to be shot there was “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” and it also hosted “Venom” and “Jumanji: The Next Level.”
Millsap announced expansion plans in the U.K. and in Santa Clarita, just north of Los Angeles, before selling the company in 2021 for $120 million.
The company now operates 13 soundstages — nine in Atlanta and another four in Shinfield, west of London. The company has plans to build another 55 soundstages — 22 in Atlanta, 14 in Shinfield and a new, 19-soundstage facility in Santa Clarita — which would make it one of the largest operators in the world.
In a press release on Tuesday, Peter Rumbold, Commonwealth’s head of real estate, said the new name is intended to evoke the “physical and imagined spaces supported by our platform.”
“Our state-of-the-art facilities physically exist as ‘shadowboxes’ where our clients can execute their artistic endeavors,” he said. “We’re pleased to offer some of the world’s top creative talent the space to bring characters and stories to life in premier soundstages backed by best-in-class production services.”
Last year, California approved a $150 million incentive plan to encourage construction of new soundstage facilities in the state. Soundstages have been operating at or near maximum capacity in the Los Angeles area during the post-pandemic production boom. Several other companies have announced plans to expand existing soundstages or build new ones in the last couple of years.
Lee Wittlinger, a managing director of Silver Lake, and Chip Schroeder, a Silver Lake director, will join the Shadowbox board. Commonwealth Asset Management remains the majority shareholder.
Millsap kept the rights to the Blackhall name in the sale. He plans to launch a new streaming service, Blackhall Americana, next year with original action-adventure content. Millsap originally intended to call the company Valhalla Studios, but backed down after a legal challenge from Valhalla Entertainment, producers of “The Walking Dead.”
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