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What happens to the props when the film production wraps?
December 8, 2004 10:19 AM   Subscribe

What happens to movie props and costumes after production wraps up? Films that must have a huge amount of these things, like say, the Lord of the Rings films, make me wonder where it all goes.
posted by picea to Media & Arts (15 answers total)
 
They end up as decorations at Planet Hollywood.
posted by jewishbuddha at 10:22 AM on December 8, 2004


Sometimes it all gets re-used. The lab from the original Frankenstein movie was used in the Young Frankenstein spoof.
posted by turtlegirl at 10:27 AM on December 8, 2004


Much of the Lord of the Rings stuff has been touring the world as part of a museum exhibit. But for smaller movies, I have no idea.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:36 AM on December 8, 2004


The actors (and likely everyone else involved) probably take some. Wired had an interview with Will Smith in which he stated that anything he touches onscreen he gets to keep.
posted by borkencode at 10:38 AM on December 8, 2004


The hobbit feet used got disposed of every day at the end of the shoot on LotR, supposedly to stop fans taking them. Don't know what happens generally though.
posted by Orange Goblin at 11:15 AM on December 8, 2004


production companies used to throw most of it into warehouses to be reused or repurposed later. somehow, given the secondary markets for props, and the increased involvement of costuming as a marketing tool for designers, as well as weirdo demands of the stars, my guess would be that much of what doesn't get saved by the stars/directors gets destroyed.

i imagine the shift away from shot-entirely-on-soundstage movies has also caused less warehousing of costumes and props.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:26 AM on December 8, 2004


Some is taken by cast/crew, some is retained by the directors/producers, some is sold at auction, some is destroyed.

At the conclusion of the online reality game that accompanied Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence, one of the final puzzles resulted in an e-mail address where you were told to provide your address and a reason you deserve a reward for your work. About a month later, stuff started showing up on people's doorsteps. I received one of every denomination of Newbucks (incredibly well-designed, well-produced paper money from TEH FUTURE!!!11ONE) and one of the illuminated table miniatures from the Rouge City set. Very cool.
posted by Danelope at 11:30 AM on December 8, 2004


Friend of mine ran into Elijah Wood last year before ROTK came out and talked to him for about half an hour (apparently a really nice guy, that Elijah -- he also got on friend's cell phone and said hello to his wife) and told my friend that he had kept one of the One Rings as well as a copy of Bilbo's map, which he had framed and on his wall.
posted by papercake at 11:55 AM on December 8, 2004


There's a company that sells stuff on Ebay. Last year I almost won Neil Patrick Harris' pants from Undercover Brother.

No fucking lie.
posted by mathowie at 12:00 PM on December 8, 2004


We have a Tony Danza's bathrobe from one of his movies in the back of our closet. I couldn't be more proud.

My husband's uncle is a propmaster and kept all kinds of stuff from M.A.S.H., the pink towels from Mr. Mom, and various other productions. It was all procured before the days of e-bay, when the prop guys would just take whatever the stars and studios didn't want.
posted by whatnot at 12:21 PM on December 8, 2004


Like others have said, the stuff sometimes:
1) Goes back to the studio's wardrobe department, to be reused in some manner in a later production.
2) Sometimes the studios have their own museums which get the costumes -- or they are donated to similar museums.
3) Sometimes the stars walk off with them.
4) They are sold as consignment at independent stores. IT'S A WRAP in Burbank is famous for selling previously used wardrobe items. Sometimes at a tremendous discount. (can't tell you who in "Eraser" wore my DKNY sportscoat, but I can tell you I paid twenty bucks for it).

If you find yourself in position to purchase used wardrobe items, check the size -- costume people are notorious for sewing smaller sizes onto the clothing for their leads. If you want job security, you don't want to be the person who tells JLo that she's a size 6.
posted by herc at 2:46 PM on December 8, 2004


The hobbit feet used got disposed of every day at the end of the shoot on LotR, supposedly to stop fans taking them.

Latex appliances like the hobbit feet aren't expected to last more than a day in the first place. They also threw out all the orc masks (and Klingon foreheads on a Star Trek set) because in all of these cases, at the end of the day you've got a tattered bit of rubber that will only degrade further over time.
posted by jjg at 10:34 PM on December 8, 2004


Empire Falls Props on Sale Next Week (now really this week, I guess...)
posted by anastasiav at 7:16 AM on December 9, 2004


Sometimes the stuff is kept in storage for a good long while. When the finished filming the Dukes of Hazard TV series they parked 50? Generals on a back lot someplace in case they needed them for a sequel. A few years ago they sold them off in a lot to an internet group.
posted by Mitheral at 7:53 AM on December 9, 2004


If you look back at the show/DVD of Firefly you might notice soldiers wearing the armor from the first Starship Troopers movie.

I recall some of it being on ebay some time ago.
posted by codger at 8:34 AM on December 9, 2004


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