S.E.E.’s Plans for Studio in Space

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Call me skeptical but are we really to take seriously last week’s pronouncement that a full-blown movie production studio and sports arena are going to be built in space? Seems so ludicrous and way too sci-fi to me, but then maybe I’m just not space-wok enough to buy it. We ran a story on Jan. 19 that Space Entertainment Enterprise, a company that said it was co-producing Tom Cruise’s planned space movie, was aiming to build a space station module by December 2024 that would host films, television, music and sports events, and enable artists, producers and other creatives to make content in the “low-orbit, micro-gravity environment.” Axiom Space, which received NASA’s approval in January 2020 to build a commercial component of the International Space Station, is supposed to undertake the construction of SEE-1.

My sources at Universal Pictures say they weren’t at all aware of this otherworldly plan for an entertainment arena to be launched in space and that it is unrelated to Cruise’s movie plans. However, the story aroused my curiosity about the status of the as-yet-untitled film that Cruise and Doug Liman are planning to shoot for the studio, since we haven’t heard a word about it since the story broke about the planned $200 million-plus project back in the summer of 2020.

Universal does intend to roll the cameras sometime next year and is still waiting for Liman and Christopher McQuarrie to deliver the script. I’m told the movie will be only partially shot on the International Space Station; the majority will be filmed on Earth, with additional footage likely to be shot on a rocket. This is not a sci-fi movie but rather an action-adventure story in which Cruise plays a down-on-his-luck guy who finds himself in the position of being the only person who could save Earth.

Universal believes the space movie will be Cruise’s next big-screen outing after he completes production of Paramount’s “Mission: Impossible 8,” which the actor is about to go off and shoot in South Africa under the direction of longtime collaborator McQuarrie. The latest installment in the hit spy franchise just had its release date pushed from July 7, 2023, to June 28, 2024, and the premiere of McQuarrie’s seventh film, which was postponed several times due to COVID-19, has also been delayed from its planned Sept. 30 release to July 14, 2023.

I remain doubtful that by the time “Mission 8” arrives in earthbound theaters, Space Entertainment Enterprise and Axiom will have accomplished their proposed mission of building a “cutting-edge, revolutionary facility” in space, enabling “the expansion of the $2 trillion global entertainment industry into low-Earth orbit.”

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