Stage 28

The Phantom Stage (1925 – 2014)

September 20th 2014: This stage has now been demolished. The Opera House facades have been put into storage, and the rest of the stage has been completely demolished.

Demolition (2014)

We understand this is to make way for an expansion of the theme park (Super Nintendo World). It’s a shame that despite Universal proudly announcing that Stage 28 is historic and one of the first stages built on the lot, containing the iconic opera house sets from the 1925 Phantom of the Opera, the expansion of the theme park has destroyed the chance for future VIP Tour visitors and movie crews the thrill of visiting or working in such an atmospheric location. It was a stage that was in almost constant use, although there are bigger (and more soundproof) stages all over the lot.

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August 26th 2014: There are rumours that Universal Studios plan to demolish this historic stage; one of the few structures on their property in it’s original location still in regular use. Stages 3+4 and 5+6 and 16+17 were built in 1916. have confirmed that the demolition is planned, but that a large effort is being made to preserve the historic Opera House sets for future generations, to be displayed at a different location, and to be more visible to the public.
The stage without the Opera House set, although historic, has very little architectural merit.
Read more at Variety.
There was also a petition you could sign to try to reverse any decision, although it’s obviously too late now!

Stage 28 during a VIP Tour, April 2010 (c)

This historic stage was known as the Phantom Stage, because at one end of this stage there remained the original sets for the Paris Opera house, as built for The Phantom of the Opera in 1925. When the soundstage was demolished in 2014, it’s believed that the parts of the auditorium set that still survived are the oldest surviving movie sets in the world. The Phantom stage was also unique in that no other soundstage in Hollywood history has been named after a single film. This stage was the oldest and second tallest on the Universal lot.

With construction beginning in July 1924, the stage was the first to be constructed from steel and concrete. Originally, stages were raised platforms in the open-air – this was necessary to get maximum light onto the sets (from the Californian sunshine). Wood and glass constructions were then built (from around 1916) to protect increasingly sophisticated sets, props and equipment from rain, but these proved difficult to work in under the hot sun. Large enclosed stages began to appear in the early 1920s.

The elaborate auditorium interior shown above was still in position on Stage 28 until 2014, when it was removed to be preserved elsewhere. The set was used as an auditorium in a number of film & TV projects. The rest of Stage 28 and it’s tank were in almost constant use (see the list below) without any reference to the fact that the opera house sets are at one end.


A caped figure had been seen running around the catwalks above the stage – could this be Lon Chaney repeating his most famous role even after death in 1930? Other reported phenomena include lights turning on and off and doors opening and shutting. An electrician reportedly fell to his death from a catwalk in 1925.

Seen on Screen: Universal Studios Hollywood [Stage_28]

The Phantom of the Opera [Feature Film]1925Rupert JulianIMDB Database page about The Phantom of the Opera
Stage 28 was constructed for this movie. Portions of the Paris Opera House sets built in 1925 still exist inside Stage 28, which is known as The Phantom Stage.
Uncle Tom's Cabin [Feature Film]1927Harry A. PollardIMDB Database page about Uncle Tom
Stage 28, Colonial Street (Colonial Mansion)
Dracula [Feature Film]1931Tod BrowningIMDB Database page about Dracula
Stage 12 (Interior of Castle / Grand Staircase / Interior of Abbey), Stage 28 (Royal Albert Hall sequence - Bela Lugosi sat in an opera box originally built for Phantom of the Opera in 1925), Little Europe backlot
The Bride of Frankenstein [Feature Film]1935James WhaleIMDB Database page about The Bride of Frankenstein
Court of Miracles, Little Europe, Stage 12 (Laboratory set), Stage 28 (special effects stage - used for filming miniatures of the laboratory exterior and destruction of the laboratory)
The Raven [Feature Film]1935Lew LandersIMDB Database page about The Raven
Stage 28
Flash Gordon (Serial) [Feature Film]1936IMDB Database page about Flash Gordon (Serial)
Stage 28 - The opera house interiors were featured.
One Hundred Men and a Girl [Feature Film]1937Henry KosterIMDB Database page about One Hundred Men and a Girl
Stage 28, Colonial Street (Corner House)
Appointment For Love [Feature Film]1941William A. SeiterIMDB Database page about Appointment For Love
Stage 28
The Phantom of the Opera [Feature Film]1943Arthur LubinIMDB Database page about The Phantom of the Opera
The original 1925 Paris Opera House set built for the Lon Chaney Phantom of the Opera again appears in this full color version. Before production started, $100,000 was used to adequately soundproof the existing Stage 28 which was built in the silent era.
Man of a Thousand Faces [Feature Film]1957Joseph PevneyIMDB Database page about Man of a Thousand Faces
Stage 28
Psycho [Feature Film]1960Alfred HitchcockIMDB Database page about Psycho
The infamous shower scene and Bates Motel interiors were shot on Stage 18. Stage 28 was used for the interiors of the Bates house (the Psycho house). The Psycho House and Bates Motel were originally built close to Singapore Lake (now Jaws Lake) and Laramie Street during production. The house has been in three different locations around the backlot in total.
Charade [Feature Film]1963Stanley DonenIMDB Database page about Charade
Stage 28 [theatre]
The Birds [Feature Film]1963Alfred HitchcockIMDB Database page about The Birds
Stage 28, Stage 32, Stage 44
Texas Across the River [Feature Film]1966Michael GordonIMDB Database page about Texas Across the River
Stage 28
Torn Curtain [Feature Film]1966Alfred HitchcockIMDB Database page about Torn Curtain
New York Street, Stage 28 (including the Paris Opera House sets for the Theatre scene), Stage 32.
Thoroughly Modern Millie [Feature Film]1967George Roy HillIMDB Database page about Thoroughly Modern Millie
Stage 12 (Muzzy Estate), Stage 22, Stage 27, Stage 28 were the soundstages used. The Paris Opera House sets on Stage 28 were used for the theatre sequence. Many exterior scenes were shot on New York Street and Brownstone Street. The Square of Warriors embassy buildings featured as Carol Channing / Muzzy's house.
Airport [Feature Film]1970George SeatonIMDB Database page about Airport
Brownstone Street featured when Van Heflin enters Maureen Stapleton's cafe to borrow money for his plane ticket.
Stage 22, Stage 24, Stage 28 (special effects stage - flying miniatures)
The scene where the plane is stuck on the snowbound runway was shot on the Barham Blvd parking lot on the Universal front lot.
Columbo [TV Series]1971-2003Richard Levinson, William LinkIMDB Database page about Columbo
New York Street (various episodes), Singapore Lake, Stage 28, Colonial Mansion (The Greenhouse Jungle)
The Sixth Sense [TV Series]1972Anthony LawrenceIMDB Database page about The Sixth Sense
Stage 28 [opera house sets]
The Sting [Feature Film]1973George Roy HillIMDB Database page about The Sting
Brownstone Street and New York Street feature as Old Chicago. The theater on the south side of New York Street featured as the exterior of the Burlesque Theater, and an elevated rail track was built to run above the street. The Paris Opera House sets on Stage 28 were used for the theater interior scenes. Stage 12, Stage 22, Stage 23, Stage 24, Stage 27 and Stage 32 were also used.
The Eiger Sanction [Feature Film]1975Clint EastwoodIMDB Database page about The Eiger Sanction
Stage 28
Gable and Lombard [Feature Film]1976Sidney J. FurieIMDB Database page about Gable and Lombard
Stage 28
In God We Trust [Feature Film]1980Marty FeldmanIMDB Database page about In God We Trust
Stage 28 - Art Director David Snyder restored the phantom stage into a TV broadcast theatre.
Xanadu [Feature Film]1980Robert GreenwaldIMDB Database page about Xanadu
Brownstone Street (Business side), Stage 28 (fantasy sequence of bands meshing)
Knight Rider [TV Series]1982 - 1986Glen A. LarsonIMDB Database page about Knight Rider
Along with soundstages, the backlot was used extensively including Colonial Street, Courthouse Square, Denver Street, Boragora and Six Points Texas. Stage 28 and the Studio Tour Tunnel attraction appeared in Season 4 Fright Knight episode. Stage 01 was also used.
Airwolf [TV Series]1984-1986Donald P. BellisarioIMDB Database page about Airwolf
Colonial Street (Cleaver House), Colonial Street Church, Denver Street, Little Europe, New York Street, Six Points Texas, Square of Warriors, Tower of London backlot sets, Stage 14 [helicopter interior mockup], Stage 20 [process shots], Stage 24 [Hawke Cabin set], Stage 27 [The Lair hideout], Stage 28 [process shots]
Mask [Feature Film]1985Peter BogdanovichIMDB Database page about Mask
Stage 28, Stage 36
Big Break [TV Series]1990IMDB Database page about Big Break
Stage 28
Jurassic Park [Feature Film]1993Steven SpielbergIMDB Database page about Jurassic Park
Stage 12 (Visitor Centre), Stage 16, Stage 23 [park maintenance shed], Stage 24 [visitors centre kitchen when velociraptors attack], Stage 27 [Ford Explorer falling through tree (suspended on cables), Brachiosaurus visiting cast in a tree in the morning, Nedry's encounter with a Spitter, attack on Muldoon], Stage 28 (Computer Control room and hatchery)
Seaquest DSV [TV Series]1993-1996Rockne S. OIMDB Database page about Seaquest DSV
Stage 28 (underwater sequences done in the pit), Stage 50, Underwater Tank, Old Mexico, Little Europe
Casper [Feature Film]1995Brad SilberlingIMDB Database page about Casper
Colonial Street, Colonial Mansion, Stage 12 (interior of Whipstaff Manor), Stage 28, Singapore Lake
The American President [Feature Film]1995Rob ReinerIMDB Database page about The American President
Stage 28
Aeroplane: Red Hot Chilli Peppers [Music Video]1996Gavin Bowden
Stage 28 - a rare use for the tank built into the floor of this historic stage
The Lost World: Jurassic Park [Feature Film]1997Steven SpielbergIMDB Database page about The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Old Mexico, Stage 12, Stage 22 [Worker Village kiln house & shed], Stage 24 [T Rex stage - sets were build around the dinosaurs which ran on tracks], Stage 25 [Full size T Rex scenes. The T Rexs were so large they could not be moved from Stage 25 once assembled - the sets had to be built and moved around them], Stage 27 [Gatherers base camp], Stage 28
Life [Feature Film]1999Ted DemmeIMDB Database page about Life
Stage 27, Stage 28
Mystery Men [Feature Film]1999Kinka UsherIMDB Database page about Mystery Men
Stage 27, Stage 28 [special effects stage - flying sequences done against greenscreen], Stage 29
The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle [Feature Film]1999Des McAnuffIMDB Database page about The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle
Stage 28
How the Grinch Stole Christmas [Feature Film]2000Ron HowardIMDB Database page about How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Stage 12 [Whoville], Stage 27 [Mt.Crumpit set], Stage 28 [cave set], Stage 29, Stage 31 and 6 other stages.
Jurassic Park III [Feature Film]2001Joe JohnstonIMDB Database page about Jurassic Park III
Falls Lake, Stage 01, Stage 12 [jungle rain forest set - plane crashes into tree, Tyrannosaurus vs Spinosaurus battle], Stage 18 [plane in flight - interior, dinosaur kennel set], Stage 27 [A pteranodon grabs Eric. The groups watches helplessly as Eric is carried away. Everyone scrambles to get Eric. Grant and Amanda are separated from Paul by a Pteranodon], Stage 28 [Pteranodon drops Eric into the Nest area. Eric hits hatchlings with his knapsack. Paul, in pursuit, slips and slides, lands down to nest. Paul grabs Eric, they fight their way out of the nest.], Stage 29 [rock wall observatory], Stage 44 [rock wall canyon, flooded], Stage 25, Stage 747
The Fast and the Furious [Feature Film]2001Rob CohenIMDB Database page about The Fast and the Furious
Stage 28
The Scorpion King [Feature Film]2002Chuck RussellIMDB Database page about The Scorpion King
Square of Warriors, Stage 28, Stage 29, Stage 41
Hulk [Feature Film]2003Ang LeeIMDB Database page about Hulk
A new set of houses was built on Elm Street on the backlot for this movie. Banner's childhood home was built on the Falls Lake tank. These stages were used for interior scenes: Stage 01, Stage 12 [underground lab], Stage 22, Stage 23 [father's house interior], Stage 27, Stage 28 [the first floor of Bruce Banner's house], Stage 35.
The Cat In The Hat [Feature Film]2003Bo WelchIMDB Database page about The Cat In The Hat
Courthouse Square, Stage 23, Stage 27, Stage 28 [interior of the Walden house], Stage 29, Stage 31
Jarhead [Feature Film]2005Sam MendesIMDB Database page about Jarhead
Stage 12 (aircraft interior), Stage 22, Stage 28, Little Europe Eastern Area
The Ring Two [Feature Film]2005Hideo NakataIMDB Database page about The Ring Two
Stage 01, Stage 23, Stage 28, Stage 34, Stage 35
The Skeleton Key [Feature Film]2005Iain SoftleyIMDB Database page about The Skeleton Key
Stage 23, Stage 24, Stage 27, Stage 28, Stage 29
War of the Worlds [Feature Film]2005Steven SpielbergIMDB Database page about War of the Worlds
The 747 landing set used in War of the Worlds is still in position as part of the Universal Studios tour, on the backlot.
Stage 25, Stage 27 [Tank used for ferry capsize sequence featuring underwater cars. Filmed Jan 31 - Feb 2 2005], Stage 28 [bluescreen set for minivan sequence]
Idlewild [Feature Film]2006Bryan BarberIMDB Database page about Idlewild
Stage 28
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest [Feature Film]2006Gore VerbinskiIMDB Database page about Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man
Mediterranean Square (as tavern in Tortuga, with additional set dressing). Stage 23, Stage 24, Stage 28, Stage 31 and Stage 12 (tropical island village / Singapore) were also used.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift [Feature Film]2006Justin LinIMDB Database page about The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
Stage 28, Stage 29
You, Me & Dupree [Feature Film]2006Anthony Russo, Joe RussoIMDB Database page about You, Me & Dupree
Stage 23, Stage 24, Stage 25, Stage 27, Stage 28
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World [Feature Film]2007Gore VerbinskiIMDB Database page about Pirates of the Caribbean: At World
Falls Lake, Stage 12 (tropical island village / Singapore), Stage 23, Stage 24, Stage 28, Stage 31.
You Don't Mess With The Zohan [Feature Film]2008Dennis DuganIMDB Database page about You Don
Little Europe sets were redressed, along with a new archway for this movie. Interiors were shot on Stage 28.
Land of the Lost [Feature Film]2009Brad SilberlingIMDB Database page about Land of the Lost
Stage 12, Stage 27, Stage 28 at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Unstoppable [Feature Film]2010Tony ScottIMDB Database page about Unstoppable
Stage 28
The Muppets [Feature Film]2011James BobinIMDB Database page about The Muppets
Shot on Stage 28, with a nearby stage used as a Muppet Workshop to keep the stars looking perky. Stage 27 was also used.
Furious 7 [Feature Film]2015James WanIMDB Database page about Furious 7
Stage 18, Stage 28, Stage 44

Studio Specifications (now demolished)

Stage 28

  • Area (sq.ft.):13916 (excluding the Paris Opera sets)
  • Total Area (sq.ft.): 21168
  • Length (feet):142 (excluding the area taken up by the Paris Opera sets)
  • Total Length (feet): 216 (total length of stage building)
  • Width (feet):98
  • Height (feet-inches):43-11
  • Floor Material:Wood
  • Pits/Tanks (LxWxH):54-0x25-0 Swim Pool
  • Silent AC/Audience: No
  • Wireless Internet: No
  • Point Load: 2700LBS
  • Door Openings (WxH):E17-11×17-10
  • Features: 24-0 Diameter Turntable

More Information