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Baja to sink 'Titanic' movie studio

Wednesday, June 27, 2007
The giant 'Titanic' movie studio to become real estate attraction.

ROSARITO BEACH, MEXICO - The sprawling Baja California movie studio that was the 1996 production site of "Titanic" has been sold by 20th Century Fox to Baja Acquisitions, a private investment firm.

Once home to several Hollywood-style blockbuster movies, Fox Studios Baja has not been used in recent years for any movie productions, large or small.

Instead, under the name Foxploration, it has been promoted as a tourist attraction, drawing from its connection to "Titanic," which won 11 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director and ranks as the most successful film of all time domestically.

The large water-based production facility was built specifically for director James Cameron's $200 million filming of "Titanic." The studio created a financial boon for Northern Baja California and San Diego during the movie's two-year shoot. Several thousand extras, production aides and a wide range of vendors and service providers were employed during that time.

"We weren't too surprised (at the sale)," said Cathy Anderson of the San Diego Film Commission. "When you looked at Fox's project list, you knew there simply wasn't enough production to sustain the property, especially given the magnitude of the studio."

Known as Fox Studios Baja, the 46-acre facility is located on valuable oceanfront property, several miles south of the resort town of Rosarito Beach. It was also the home of "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" starring Russell Crowe, as well as "Pearl Harbor" and the James Bond saga "Tomorrow Never Dies."

The reported cash transaction was listed as being in the "eight figures." No other financial details were available.

Anderson estimated the studio generated $70 million for the Baja California and San Diego economies during the studio's prime years.

As for the property's future, "nobody knows," she said. "We hope it's for increased (film) production, but I'm guessing it's a real estate deal."

Published Monday, July 2, 2007 3:38 PM by Kanoa Biondolillo


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