The Crow, Rupert Sanders’ reimagining of Alex Proyas’ 1994 cult classic, has found a place to roost.
The Crow will be the first major international production to film in the newly-opened Penzing Studios, a backlot recently opened in a former air force base in Penzing, 30 miles west of Munich. All virtual production on The Crow will be done at Penzing, with location shoots in Prague and Munich. The production will also carry out the majority of its digital asset creation and VFX work in Bavaria in Germany.
The Crow reboot stars Bill Skarsgard, who played Pennywise the Clown in the It horror movies, in the titular role originally played by Brandon Lee, who was accidentally killed on set during the production of the first movie. Danny Huston co-stars.
Like the original, Sanders’ The Crow is also inspired by the 1989 James O’Barr comic, which introduced the Crow character: a man brutally murdered who comes back to life as an undead avenger seeking justice.
The 1994 film was a critical and box office hit and gained a fervent cult following. Three more Crow films followed, all with different stars: The Crow: City of Angels (1996), with Vincent Perez; The Crow: Salvation (2000) starring Eric Mabius; and The Crow: Wicked Prayer (2005), with Edward Furlong. Mark Dacascos starred in a 1990s TV series version. Since Wicked Prayer, there have been multiple attempts to revive the franchise, all of which landed in development hell.
Directors Stephen Norrington (Blade), F. Javier Gutiérrez (Before the Fall) and Corin Hardy (The Nun) have at various times attempted to get The Crow off the ground. Chris Evans was attached to star in Gutiérrez version, Jason Momoa in Hardy’s take. But again, and again, The Crow reboots came crashing to earth. Most recently, a reported clash with Sony over financial issues led to Hardy and Momoa’s exit.
Producers Hassell Free Productions, Electric Shadow Company, Davis Films and Edward R. Pressman Film Corporation hope they have found a winning combination with Sanders — best known for 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman starring Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth, and 2017 feature Ghost in the Shell, with Scarlett Johansson — and Skarsgard, who led the two It movies to scare up $1.1 billion at the global box office.
Oscar-nominee Zach Baylin (King Richard) penned the screenplay for the new Crow film. FKA Twigs also stars. Molly Hassell, Victor Hadida, John Jencks and Edward R. Pressman are producing the movie, which Film Nation is selling worldwide outside North America, where CAA Media Finance are handling rights.
Munich-based Occupant Entertainment, the production company of Penzing Studios co-founder Joe Neurauter, will also co-produce in a joint venture with Philipp Kreuzer’s Maze Pictures, and has arranged subsidy financing from regional state funding body FFF Bayern via its special program for international co-productions.
“With The Crow, Penzing Studios is off to a great start. It is a strong signal that the unique combination of a world-class lot and facilities, cutting edge technological and production expertise and attractive funding opportunities are a big draw for top projects and players worldwide,” said Neurauter. “It gives a taste of the digital production hub we aim to build here in the coming years.”
The Crow will be a flagship project for Penzing Studios, which is currently expanding its facility with plans to convert the former airplane hangars to 12 soundstages with a total of 270,000 square feet of production space. Penzing’s focus is on digital and virtual production but the studio also boasts a square mile of backlot with several practical locations, including a recently opened fully equipped hospital.