Tyler Perry opened up his newly expanded Tyler Perry Studios last month to massive fanfare. The media mogul hosted a star-studded gala in October to celebrate the opening of the 12-sound stage studios. While it’s been known that the studios reside at Atlanta’s Fort McPherson military base, which formerly served as a base for the Confederate army before becoming a U.S. Army post, below are five facts that you might not have known about the space, which was initially opened in 2016.
The Bibles Buried Under the Soundstages
Perry has never shied away from discussing his faith and the impact that religion has on him and his career extends to Tyler Perry Studios.
“In order to get into the studio you’ve got to drive through the gates,” he explained during a speech at Joel Olsteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas last year. “And to go through the gates you’ve got to pass through the arms and the handle. Buried under that when you’re going in and coming out is the open word of God. I’ve buried the Bible at the gates of the studio. So you can’t come in without crossing the Word and you can’t leave out without crossing the Word.”
Tyler Perry’s Former Abode Is Nearby
Upon completion of the revamped Tyler Perry Studios in fall 2019, new highway signs along Georgia State Route 166 were erected to display the name of the studio. It sits adjacent to a sign that identifies where Perry once lived when he was homeless.
“Atlanta has truly been the promised land for me. I came here with nothing, lived off Sylvan Road, ended up homeless and starving, but I was always praying and believing,” Perry said in a post shared across his social media platforms.
Bigger Acreage Than Any of the Major Film Studios in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is home to the big five film studios: Paramount Studios (65 acres), Universal Studios (13 city blocks which amount to about 32 acres), Warner Bros. Studio (110-acre main lot and a 32-acre ranch facility), 20th Century Fox (53 acres) and Sony Pictures Studios (44 acres). Not counting WB’s ranch facility, all of those studio sizes combined would be able to fit inside the 330-acre Tyler Perry Studios.
Perry Poured Hundreds of Millions of His Own Money Into His Studios
Perry invested $250 million into the expansion of his namesake studios after initially buying it for $30 million in 2015.
“We just finished Phase 1, which is the 12 sound stages,” Variety reported he said. “The second phase that we’re starting late next year is the six-lane highway, the backlot, the small little European town, a bigger lake and pond on it. So there’s so much more that I’m gonna do here.”
Largest Film Studio Owned by a Person of African Descent Globally
Perry’s studio is the largest entertainment complex owned by a Black person or any person of African descent around the world, Atlanta magazine reported. That’s aside from the fact that he’s the only African American to own a studio without outside backing.
Speaking on the significance of being a Black studio owner at the 2019 BET Awards he said, “While everybody else is fighting for a seat at the table, talking about ‘#OscarsSoWhite, #OscarsSoWhite,’ I said, ‘Y’all go ahead and do that. While you’re fighting for a seat at the table, I’ll be down in Atlanta building my own.’”