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Space-based film studio officially in development for 2024

Space Entertainment Enterprise, co-producers of Tom Cruise’s forthcoming space-set film, has announced plans to build a fully-fledged production studio 250 miles above Earth.

Remember back in 2020, when Tom Cruise teamed up with Elon Musk’s Space X to shoot the first ever feature film in space… no? That’s probably because it never happened.

Plans to send Cruise and director Doug Liman into zero gravity stalled over issues with the $200m budget, and they were then pipped to the post by a Russian film crew – who completed a 12-day shoot for The Challenge aboard the International Space Station in 2021.

Despite this knock to what would’ve undoubtedly been a lucrative publicity stunt, it’s not unlike the US to rewrite the terms of the space race completely. The stakes, once again, have been raised in a big way.

Space Entertainment Enterprise, the company co-producing Tom Cruise’s movie, has now announced plans to build a dedicated module on the ISS which will act as a fully-fledged film and TV studio. This off world facility will be available to rent for film studios and reportedly will allow influencers to livestream content.

Sci-fi has long been a staple of the movie industry, held up by creative prop departments and special effects teams, but regular trips to outer space will aim to alleviate the heavy lifting for production studios.

The thinking, amusingly, is that blasting an entire crew 250 miles above Earth is actually more convenient. With the ISS completing a full orbit of Earth every 90 minutes, it’ll certainly be good for duping talent into working overtime.

Officially named the SEE-1, the facility is being constructed by Axiom Space which just secured a build contract slated for the launch pad in 2024. Docked on Axiom’s commercial wing of the ISS, it will eventually aim to separate in 2028.

In terms of the actual structure and intended functionality, we know little more than Axiom plans to build a big adaptable bubble. Hopefully, the actual blueprints are a little more intricate than that.

‘SEE-1 is an incredible opportunity for humanity to move into a different realm and start an exciting new chapter in space,’ say co-founders Dmitry and Elena Lesnevsky, in a joint statement.

‘It will provide a unique and accessible home for boundless entertainment possibilities in a venue packed with innovative infrastructure, which will unleash a new world of creativity.’

The commercialisation of space is projected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2030, and some $9.8 billion was invested in Q3 of 2021 alone.

A report from the Space Foundation suggests a record number of private launches will take place this year as private companies aim to begin sending paying customers on suborbital and orbital trips to space. Perhaps some will one day stay at Bezos’ space business park… yes, that’s also a thing.

Whilst billionaires continue to monopolise our solar system, there will be backlash from those who believe undivided attention should go towards fixing problems here on Earth. Nevertheless, whether you believe these endeavours to be misplaced or not, it won’t make a blind bit of difference.

Space is big business that will only get bigger in the coming years. Given Alfonso Cuaron’s blockbuster Gravity – starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney – made $723m at the global box office in 2013, it’s easy to see why all parties are keen to push this enterprise.


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