Tyler Perry Celebrates Grand Opening of Atlanta Movie Studio
|thenorthstar||Oct 9, 2019|
Filmmaker Tyler Perry invited hundreds of celebrities to the grand opening of Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia on October 5.
The director, screenwriter, actor, producer, and playwright became the first Black man in history to own a major movie studio in the US, Essence reported. Perry purchased the 330-acre lot back in 2015, which is located on the former army base Fort McPherson, according to news station WBNS.
“When I came here in 1992, I came with a dream,” Perry said in an interview with WBNS in the week before the event. “I’m looking at everything I’ve dreamed and more to come to pass. It just reminds me. I just thought this was the Promised Land and that sign reminded me of that every time I pass it. The studio is a reminder as well.”
The $250 million studio has filmed movies in Tyler Perry’s Madea series and Marvel’s hit movie Black Panther, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. The lot has 12 different sound stages and is bigger than some Hollywood studios in California including Warner Brothers and Walt Disney Studios, according to CNN.
“I gave them the absolute best,” he previously told WBNS.
“I built the absolute best I could. We perform and run this place like a top. We have excellent service and everything you would expect to have in a major film television studio. People are glad to shoot here. A lot of them want to return because of the way we handled it.”
A-list stars like Oprah Winfrey, Cecily Tyson, Taraji P. Henson, Jill Scott, Whoopi Goldberg, Spike Lee, Ava DuVernay, and Keshia Knight Pulliam were in attendance for Perry’s big night, according to Essence. On his Instagram, Perry posted pictures of the grand opening, saying he had “no words” to express how he was feeling.
“Grand Opening: Imagine This — I’m a writer with no words for Saturday night. So if a picture is worth a thousand words then let them speak for me while I gather my emotions and try to process what happened on Saturday!!” Perry wrote.
Singer Beyoncé and her rapper husband Jay-Z also attended the grand opening. The singer took to Instagram on October 6 to congratulate Perry on all of his success.
“Congratulations to Tyler Perry on the opening of his studios. I could feel our ancestors’ presence. Surrounded by my heroes, I watched Denzel, Queen Oprah, Spike, Whoopi, Sir Poitier, Will, Halle, Dame Cicely and our angels John Singleton and Diahann Carroll honored. The Armand de Brignac crashed against each soundstage as fireworks lit up the sky,” she wrote.
“Generations of blood, sweat and tears, success, excellence and brilliance. It makes me so proud, so full, I could not stop crying. Thank you my Virgo brother for so much love and passion put into every detail. My prayer today is that you will take it all in. You inspire me to dream even bigger,” she continued.
In an interview with Gayle King on CBS This Morning after the grand opening of his studios, Perry said he felt “ignored in Hollywood.”
"My audience and the stories that I tell are African-American, stories specific to a certain audience, specific to a certain group of people that I know, that I grew up with, and we speak a language," Perry told King.
"Hollywood doesn't necessarily speak the language." he continued. "A lot of critics don't speak that language. So, to them, it's like, 'What is this?'"
Perry also noted during his interview that his studio is diverse and inclusive, where all actors and actresses are represented.
"Every Black person that comes to work here, they go, 'Oh, my God, it's heaven. Here we are. We're represented,'" Perry said. "LGBTQs represented. Black, white, gay, straight, whatever. We're all represented, working hand-in-hand, arm-in-arm."
A few days before the studio’s grand opening, Perry was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the Motion Pictures category. Actors like Crystal Fox, Idris Elba, and Kerry Washington were in attendance to watch Perry receive his award, as well as cast members from his shows “The Oval,” “Sistas,” and “The Haves and Have Nots.” Perry dedicated his acceptance speech to the “underdogs.”
“I want you to walk past this star in particular and know that I’ve been there,” he said, according to BET. “I’ve been struggling, I’ve been out, broke, homeless. I’ve been through all of those things, but there was a perseverance, a tremendous faith in God, and this hope that allowed me to keep going.”
“So, if you’re looking at all of these stars,” Perry added, “I’m sure everybody has a story here who’s been immortalized here, but this one in particular is for the underdogs. This one in particular is for the ones who want to do it their way. This one in particular is for those who want to bring as many people through the door with them as they can.”
About the Author
Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.