After the Cameras Have Gone: What Happens to the Old Sets Built for Movies?

After the Cameras Have Gone: What Happens to the Old Sets Built for Movies?

11th December 2019

Many movie productions involve the elaborate building of huge sets, often involving streets or even towns built to scale. What happens to these places after the cameras have gone, though?


The King Kong Set Got Burned Down in Gone With the Wind 
1939’s epic Gone With the Wind had an enormous budget. Yet, the filming still ran into problems when they had to work out how to film the dramatic burning of Atlanta. Would they need to spend money on workers, materials, safety ladders and everything else that goes into building a movie set, only to burn it down? The solution was to destroy old movie sets.
This means that Rhett and Scarlett actually watch the set of King Kong, The Last of the Mohicans, and Little Lord Fauntleroy burn down. It was the first scene shot, meaning that it also helped to clear space for the movie’s scenery to be built. The timeless classic is still the highest-grossing movie ever made when adjusted for inflation. 


You Can Visit the Field of Dreams
In 1989, Kevin Costner charmed audiences all over the planet with this tale of building a baseball field and attracting players from the past. The land belonging to two neighbouring farmers was used for the film. After shooting of Field of Dreams was over, one of them started growing corn in his field again.
The other part of the set was left as a free visitor attraction and it is said that about 65,000 people visited it every year. In 2020, the first Major League Baseball game will take place here. This will feature the Chicago White Sox against the New York Yankees in an 8,000 seat field next to where Field of Dreams was filmed. 

The Spaghetti Western Towns Are Spanish Tourist Attractions
Italian movie director Sergio Leone introduced the spaghetti western concept, leading to hundreds of films in this genre being made in the 1960s and 70s. Among the most famous of them were A Fistful of Dollars from 1964, and 1966’s The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. Both featured a young Clint Eastwood.
They were filmed in Europe’s only desert, the Desert of Tabernas in Almeria, Spain. This led to three mock Western towns being built there. You can still visit Texas Hollywood, Mini Hollywood, and Western Leone, which are still sometimes using as filming locations.

The Popeye Set is a Theme Park in Malta 
You may have forgotten that there is a 1980 film version of Popeye featuring Robin Williams as the strong sailor. The people of Mellieħa in Malta haven’t forgotten it, though. This is because the old set that was built to be used as Sweethaven is still there and has been turned into a theme park called Popeye Village.
There are about 20 wooden buildings from the film, as well as a museum that shows visitors the history of the story. Tourists can head out on a boat tour of the bay and catch a stage show featuring Popeye and Olive Oyl. It took a building crew of over 160 people some 7 months to build this idyllic village by the sea.