Green is Universal | Film Production

Film Production

Universal Pictures and Focus Features are committed to reducing the environmental impact from filmmaking activities. To assist in this effort, NBCUniversal developed a Sustainable Production Program which empowers our film divisions to integrate sustainable best practices across their productions.

At the foundation of the program are easy to use infographics which illustrate sustainable production best practices. These practices span across all production operations and equip filmmakers and crewmembers with the tools to take action and reduce impact. To view the infographics and learn more about our sustainability program, click here. To find more sustainable production tools and resources, check out GreenProductionGuide.com.

Read on for examples of how our film crews have integrated environmental action into their everyday work:

Recent Releases

Pitch Perfect 3, December 22, 2017

© Universal Pictures

© Universal Pictures

Now graduated from college and out in the real world where it takes more than a cappella to get by, the Bellas return in Pitch Perfect 3, the next chapter in the beloved series that has taken in more than $400 million at the global box office. After the highs of winning the World Championships, the Bellas find themselves split apart and discovering there aren’t job prospects for making music with your mouth. But when they get the chance to reunite for an overseas USO tour, this group of awesome nerds will come together to make some music, and some questionable decisions, one last time. Pitch Perfect 3 is again produced by Paul Brooks of Gold Circle Entertainment and Max Handelman & Elizabeth Banks of Brownstone Productions, and is directed by Trish Sie (Step Up All In).

Filmed in Atlanta, Georgia, the Pitch Perfect 3 production team worked hard to implement practices to reduce their environmental impact. This started from the beginning in the production office, where they set up half a dozen water stations to reduce disposable water bottles, recycling bins throughout the office and at each staff member’s desk, and purchased 100% tree-free white copy paper made from sugarcane waste fiber.

When shooting on stages and at the Georgia Aquarium, the facilities provided power drops which reduced the need for generators. More than 50% of the lighting fixtures on some sets were LED, lowering energy consumption. To avoid using tropical hardwood Lauan plywood, the construction department used the more environmentally sustainable alternative Revolution Ply to build set walls.

The Pitch Perfect 3 crew made a conscious effort to donate to the community when possible, as well as repurposing materials to avoid waste. The construction team donated excess paint to the non-profit Global Paint for Charity as well as a local school theater. The production office donated excess paper to a local preschool, and donated furniture to the non-profit Women of Gilgal. The Universal assets team was able to re-purpose over 125 linear feet of set walls and materials to other local productions, and donated over 12,300 lbs of lumber and set building materials to the non-profit Lifecycle Building Center. Catering donated 5,140 lbs of excess food to Women of Gilgal and the Atlanta Mission, which equates to 4,280 meals served to the hungry. These practices and more contributed to Pitch Perfect 3 receiving a 2017 EMA Green Seal.

 

Darkest Hour, November 22, 2017

DARKEST HOUR

© Focus Features

A thrilling and inspiring true story begins at the precipice of World War II as, within days of becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill (Academy Award nominee Gary Oldman) must face one of his most turbulent and defining trials: exploring a negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation. As the unstoppable Nazi forces roll across Western Europe and the threat of invasion is imminent, and with an unprepared public, a skeptical King, and his own party plotting against him, Churchill must withstand his darkest hour, rally a nation, and attempt to change the course of world history.

Filmed primarily in London and Yorkshire, the Darkest Hour team implemented sustainable production practices to reduce their environmental impact. Offices were set up to minimize waste. Best practices included recycling, plumbed in water coolers, and replacing disposable food service products with washable glasses, dishes, and cutlery. On set, reusable bottles were supplied to crew on Day 1 of the shoot to cut down on plastic water bottle waste. This resulted in cast and crew using approximately 11,000 less water bottles than other productions of this size. As a period drama, nearly all set dressing and props were obtained second hand, reducing the need to purchase new. When building sets, the construction team utilized sustainable building materials such as FSC Certified Plywood.

In wrap, sets from the film’s “War Rooms” found a second life on the RMS Queen Mary, where they will be transformed into a restaurant. Set Dressing and production supplies such as shelving and furniture were donated to three local non-profits: Shelter (housing assistance,) Dad’s House (food bank), and the British Heart FoundationDarkest Hour received a 2017 EMA Green Seal, recognizing its sustainable efforts in production.

 

The Snowman, October 20, 2017

© Universal Pictures

© Universal Pictures

Michael Fassbender (X-Men series), Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation), Charlotte Gainsbourg (Independence Day: Resurgence), Val Kilmer (Heat) and Academy Award® winner J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) star in The Snowman, a terrifying thriller from director Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), based on Jo Nesbø’s global bestseller.

When an elite crime squad’s lead detective (Fassbender) investigates the disappearance of a victim on the first snow of winter, he fears an elusive serial killer may be active again. With the help of a brilliant recruit (Ferguson), the cop must connect decades-old cold cases to the brutal new one if he hopes to outwit this unthinkable evil before the next snowfall.

One of the largest productions to be filmed in Norway, The Snowman introduced sustainable production practices to the local film community. The production earned qualification points towards the Norway Film Incentive through the implementation of this sustainability strategy. Going beyond standard practices in Norway, the production partnered with the local city council to provide reusable water bottles to crew and coordinate location recycling pickups.

Additionally, the construction team incorporated existing materials to create the look and feel of the film. Sets were built with more sustainable options such as birch, poplar and OSB. In wrap, a large portion of their materials were sold to local art schools to avoid disposal.  The Snowman implemented energy efficient practices including LED set lighting, tying into the grid to avoid diesel generators, and utilizing trailers with solar panels. The production office donated leftover paper to local kindergartens and the Red Cross. These practices and more earned The Snowman a 2016 EMA Green Seal, recognizing progress in sustainable production practices.

 

Victoria & Abdul, September 22, 2017

© Focus Features

© Focus Features

The Focus Features film Victoria & Abdul tells the true story of the amazing and unlikely friendship between Queen Victoria (Academy Award® winner Judi Dench) and a young clerk, Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), who becomes her teacher, her spiritual advisor, and her devoted friend in the later years of her life.  In 1887, Abdul travels from India to present a ceremonial medal as part of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee but surprisingly finds favor with the elderly Queen. The unlikely relationship causes a battle royale within the royal household, pitting the Queen against court and family. Victoria & Abdul explores questions of race, religion, power, and the farce of Empire through the prism of an unusual and moving friendship.

While filming primarily in the United Kingdom, the Victoria & Abdul team worked hard to reduce their environmental impact whenever possible. A large portion of the LED set lighting used on location was battery powered in an effort to reduce generator use. To limit plastic water bottles, reusable bottles were purchased for office and shooting crew to refill at the water coolers placed around set. Most paperwork was able to be distributed digitally, but for items printed they used a majority of 100% white recycled content paper.  Since Victoria & Abdul is a period piece, 90% of set dressing, props, and costumes were rented instead of purchased, which helped in their efforts to practice reuse. In many locations, the production utilized existing set dressing and had minimal need for the construction department to build from scratch.

The caterers on Victoria & Abdul sourced local produce to integrate into their menu. They also avoided using red meat on their menu several days of the week, reducing carbon emissions related to crew meals. The art department kept all leftover materials, fabrics and trimmings that were used to upholster furniture and sold them to another production. During wrap, many items were donated to the local RSPCA charity shop. All leftover color paper was donated to a children’s nursery. These practices and more led to Victoria & Abdul earning a 2017 EMA Green Seal, recognizing progress in sustainable production practices.

 

Girls Trip, July 21, 2017

© Universal Pictures

© Universal Pictures

Producer Will Packer (Ride Along and Think Like a Man franchises, Almost Christmas) presents Girls Trip, a new comedy from director/producer Malcolm D. Lee (The Best Man franchise, Barbershop: The Next Cut).

When four lifelong friends—Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah—travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there’s enough dancing, drinking, brawling and romancing to make the Big Easy blush.

Filmed in New Orleans, Girls Trip made a dedicated effort to reduce their carbon footprint where possible.  The film’s production offices were located at Second Line Stages, a certified LEED GOLD building that included motion detector lighting, low flow water fixtures, composting in the kitchens, and recycling throughout the offices and stages.

The office enforced a strict “Print Only by Request” policy which resulted in a 60% drop in paper usage compared to a production of a similar size.  Production passed on remaining paper and office supplies to another New Orleans film.  On set, crew practiced energy efficiency by using hybrid vehicles, energy efficient EcoLuxe trailers, and LED set lighting.

Girls Trip gave back to the community both during and after filming.  Production donated approximately 600 lbs of excess catering food (equaling 500 meals) to the New Orleans Mission, and also donated lumber to The Green Project, a local non-profit reuse center.  These practices and more led to Girls Trip earning a 2016 EMA Green Seal, recognizing progress in sustainable production practices.

 

The Beguiled, June 23, 2017

The Beguiled

© Focus Features

The Focus Features film The Beguiled is an atmospheric thriller from acclaimed writer/director Sofia Coppola, winner of the Best Director award at the 2017 Cannes International Film Festival. The story unfolds during the Civil War, at a Southern girls’ boarding school. Its sheltered young women take in an injured enemy soldier. As they provide refuge and tend to his wounds, the house is taken over with sexual tension and dangerous rivalries, and taboos are broken in an unexpected turn of events.

Filming on locations in Louisiana, The Beguiled production team implemented a number of sustainable practices. In the production office, water dispensers were used to avoid plastic water bottle usage.  A conscious effort was made to turn off all lights and electronics at night.  A strict “print only by request” policy, resulting in 52% less paper use than average for a production of their size, was enforced. When production wrapped, remaining paper was donated to local elementary schools.

All departments at work on The Beguiled made specific efforts to reduce their environmental impact. The sound department primarily used rechargeable batteries; the electrical department used LED set lighting; and on-set recyclables were collected and dropped off at a local recycler. These practices and more led to The Beguiled earning a 2017 EMA Green Seal, recognizing progress in sustainable production practices.

 

The Book of Henry, June 16, 2017

The Book Of Henry

© Focus Features

The Book of Henry is a Focus Features drama directed by Colin Trevorrow, who last helmed 2015’s “Jurassic World.”  Written by Gregg Hurwitz and starring Naomi Watts, Jaeden Lieberher, Jacob Tremblay, Sarah Silverman, Lee Pace, Maddie Ziegler, and Dean Norris, The Book of Henry centers on a single mother whose genius son’s plan to help a classmate with a dangerous secret takes shape in thrilling ways.

Filming in New York State, The Book of Henry production team made substantial efforts to reduce the movie shoot’s environmental impact.  To help reduce fuel use, they rented hybrid vehicles for crew.  To lower energy use, the lighting department used LED set lighting.  Refilling stations were provided on-set and all crew were encouraged to use reusable water bottles, which resulted in individual water bottle use that was 90% less than comparably sized productions.

When building their sets, The Book of Henry construction team utilized sustainable building materials such as FSC Certified Plywood and Pulp Art, a wall skin made from 100% recycled paper.  Several departments made the effort to purchase secondhand pieces from Build it Green, Habitat for Humanity, and local thrift stores.

The Book of Henry was very active in donating to the local community.  The production donated a set of stairs that had been built to the Rochambeau School, a local high school in White Plains, NY, and construction flats were donated via Art Cube.  In addition, the set decoration team gave away several pieces of furniture and home goods to Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, and Furnishare.  The production donated excess food through Rock and Wrap it Up!, with over 162 meals given to the hungry.  These practices and more earned The Book of Henry an EMA Green Seal.

 

The Mummy, June 9, 2017

Mummy

©Universal Pictures

Tom Cruise headlines a spectacular, all-new cinematic version of the legend that has fascinated cultures all over the world since the dawn of civilization: The Mummy.

Thought safely entombed in a tomb deep beneath the unforgiving desert, an ancient princess (Sofia Boutella of Kingsman: The Secret Service and Star Trek Beyond) whose destiny was unjustly taken from her is awakened in our current day, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia and terrors that defy human comprehension.

Cruise is joined by a cast including Annabelle Wallis (King Arthur, television’s Peaky Blinders), Jake Johnson (Jurassic World), Courtney B. Vance (TV’s American Crime Story: The People V. O.J. Simpson), Marwan Kenzari (The Promise) and Oscar® winner Russell Crowe (Gladiator).

Filmed in the United Kingdom, the production team on The Mummy was fully dedicated to implementing sustainable practices throughout the production.  They used 100% recycled content paper throughout production, replacing the equivalent of 142 trees. To reduce bottled water, water filters were installed in the production office that provided both still and sparking water.  In an effort to reduce waste, recycling was set up all throughout offices, workshops and stages.  Catering used compostable food service products, which were composted along with food waste from both the office and stage catering.

Departments across The Mummy made a concerted efforts to be energy efficient.  LED set lights were used on the back lot as well as on stages which significantly reduced power consumption.  To help educate and inform the crew, production placed signage around the workspaces, reminding people to turn off lights and electronics every night.  Transportation provided fuel efficient and hybrid rental cars for crew to use throughout the production.  They also provided minibuses to move crew to locations, reducing the amount of single cars driven.  The production donated items such as bikes, a foosball table, household items, and clothing to local charities.  These practices and more earned The Mummy an EMA Green Seal.

 

The Fate of the Furious, April 14, 2017

Fate of the Furious, The (2017)

©Universal Pictures

For THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS, Vin Diesel is joined by a returning all-star cast that includes Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky and Kurt Russell. In addition to Theron, the series welcomes newcomers Scott Eastwood and Oscar® winner Helen Mirren. The film is directed by F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton) and produced by returning producers Neal H. Moritz, Michael Fottrell and Diesel.

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS was filmed in multiple shooting locations, primarily in Atlanta, New York City, Cuba and Iceland.  Knowing it was a substantially large production, efforts were made to reduce the environmental impact wherever possible.  A successful way production reduced energy use was using LED set lighting on the stages in Atlanta.  Their “Super Jet” set was nearly 100% LED which helped lower electricity use tremendously.

Instead of having a traditional basecamp in New York City, the production team replaced the need for trailers by using hotel rooms.  Additionally, THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS was one of the first ever productions to utilize new solar powered two room trailers, which at times were able to completely run on solar power alone.

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS donated furniture and home goods to Habitat for Humanity, as well as office supplies, soccer equipment, and pop-up tents to Atlanta public schools.  They also donated items to Central Atlanta Props to be reused within the film industry.  An excess of over 1,500 pounds of food from both the Production Office and On Set Catering were donated to the Atlanta women’s shelter, Gilgal.  This equated to more than 1,250 meals that were recovered.  THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS received an EMA Green Seal, which recognizes a production’s commitment to implementing sustainable practices.

This story is part of NBCUniversal’s 10th Annual Earth Week where we’re inviting our viewers and readers to “Green Up” by sharing steps you can take to help the planet. Follow Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more. #GreenUp

 

Fifty Shades Darker, February 10, 2017

© Universal Pictures

© Universal Pictures

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson return as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades Darker, the second chapter based on the worldwide bestselling “Fifty Shades” phenomenon.  Expanding upon events set in motion in 2015’s blockbuster film that grossed more than $560 million globally, Fifty Shades Darker is directed by James Foley (Fear, House of Cards) and once again produced by Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti and Marcus Viscidi, alongside E L James, the creator of the culture-spanning blockbuster series.  The screenplay is by Niall Leonard, based on the novel by James.

Shot primarily in Vancouver, BC, the production took steps to reduce their overall environmental impact. Fifty Shades Darker and its sequel, Fifty Shades Freed, were shot consecutively which helped the production combine and reuse materials. Crew reduced and often eliminated single plastic water bottle use, which prevented the use of more than 80,000 individual plastic water bottles. A comprehensive recycling and composting program was implemented throughout the offices and on set, with a dedicated Sustainability PA on hand to ensure that the recycling program was set up and successful at each location. This resulted in an estimated 75% diversion rate of set waste.

The production was able to reuse sets from their first film, Fifty Shades of Grey, and new sets were built with FSC certified plywood. Additionally, the construction department worked with the local sustainability service company, Green Spark Group, to donate construction materials and sets that did not need to be kept. Non-profit recipients included Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Great Northern Way Scene Shop, MakerLabs, and Squamish Arts Council.  Fifty Shades Darker is a recipient of a 2016 EMA Green Seal Award.

 

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