Howard Hughes and Sony cast A-lister in Las Vegas studio development

Mark Wahlberg to consult on $1.8B project OK’d by Zoning Commission in Summerlin

Mark Wahlberg Lands Role in Las Vegas Studio Development
Howard Hughes Holdings' David O'Reilly, Sony Pictures Entertainment's Tony Vinciquerra and Mark Wahlberg with renderings of Summerlin Studios (Clark County, Howard Hughes Holdings, Sony Pictures Entertainment)

A couple of years ago, actor Mark Wahlberg outlined a vision for a “Hollywood 2.0” film studio in Las Vegas.

The A-list actor fulfilled his wish with the approval of plans by Howard Hughes Holdings and Sony Pictures Entertainment for a $1.8 billion, 31-acre production studio on the west side of Las Vegas, in Summerlin, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

The Clark County Zoning Commission approved variances that will allow the Texas-based developer and Culver City-based media company to develop Summerlin Production Studios at South Town Center Drive and West Flamingo Road, south of the 215 Beltway.

When completed, the project will include 10 buildings with 500,000 square feet of soundstages, offices, flex space and room to make props and equipment.

The project would also include 100,000 square feet of surrounding shops, restaurants and offices to support the film studio, plus a medical emergency room and satellite office for Clark County administration.

A timeline for construction was not disclosed.

Kim Spurgeon, director of the Nevada Film Office, has said Las Vegas needs more film studios for the “Hollywood 2.0” vision pitched by Wahlberg.

It was in September 2022 when David O’Reilly, CEO of Howard Hughes Holdings, read a story in the Las Vegas Review-Journal where the actor talked about moving to Las Vegas and his vision for a local movie studio. Wahlberg, who’d bought a two-story estate in The Summit Club for $14.5 million, co-owns a Wahlburger’s restaurant on the Strip.

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O’Reilly said he instantly picked up the phone and set up a meeting with Wahlberg to talk about the idea. A few days later, O’Reilly flew to Las Vegas to meet with Wahlberg and Tony Vinciquerra, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures.

“And we kind of took it from there and now we feel like we are on the precipice, or the verge of getting this thing done, and we’re really looking forward to making this happen,” O’Reilly told the Review-Journal.

O’Reilly said the goal with the project is to create a second commercial center in Summerlin. Wahlberg will serve as a consultant.

Vinciquerra said the next step is to work with Gov. Joe Lombardo’s office and the state Legislature to expand Nevada’s film tax credit program. Although an effort to expand the film tax credit program failed in last year’s legislative session, a lawmaker aims to submit another bill.

Before the tax credit legislation failed, Sony said last year it was prepared to spend up to $1 billion in production in Southern Nevada over the next 10 years, according to Variety.

As a show of faith, O’Reilly said Howard Hughes Holdings and Sony Pictures are prepared to make the initial investment to build the studios before they see any tax credits from the state.

Vinciquerra said branching out into Las Vegas with a studio is a sign of the times in shifting movie production away from Hollywood.

— Dana Bartholomew

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