Universal Pictures books space at Raleigh Studios

Universal Pictures, which released two of the bigger movies filmed in Baton Rouge in recent years, has reserved space at Raleigh Studios in the Celtic Media Centre off Airline Highway from April to November.

Patrick Mulhearn, director of studio operations at Raleigh, cautioned that major movie studios frequently reserve space at studios for movies that don’t get made, choosing to be safe, instead of sorry.

“I don’t ever believe a movie is coming here until they open an office and start building sets,” Mulhearn said. “There are too many moving parts.”

Mulhearn said Universal would be taking up some of the larger stages at Raleigh.

Universal shot the movie “Battleship” at Raleigh and across the city in the fall and winter of 2010. According to the industry site BoxOfficeMojo.com, it spent $209 million making “Battleship,” which was released in May.

Last year, the upcoming Universal science-fiction action movie “Oblivion,” starring Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman, was shot at Raleigh. “Oblivion,” which had a reported budget of $175 million, is set for release April 19.

According to BoxOfficeMojo, one big Universal release that hasn’t started shooting yet is “Jurassic Park 4,” which already has a release date of June 13, 2014.

Chris Stelly, head of Louisiana Entertainment, said his office has received no official application or notice from Universal about what movie could be shot in Baton Rouge. But he said Baton Rouge has a good reputation for film productions, as evidenced by “Battleship,” “Oblivion” and the final two “Twilight” movies, which were shot locally.

The local movie industry already has announced a pair of projects this year. An untitled horror movie written by “Saw” creator James Wan recently finished filming around Baton Rouge. An upcoming four-part miniseries about Bonnie and Clyde, which will air on both the History Channel and Lifetime, will be shot in East Baton Rouge, Ascension and Livingston parishes beginning at the end of March, said Liza Kelso, with the Baton Rouge Film Commission.