Small Soldiers (1998)

In the 1998 Joe Dante film “Small Soldiers,” Alan’s house was not actually a real house, rather a set constructed on the Warner Bros. Ranch in Burbank, California.  The set was built specifically for the film, but remains standing to this day and has since been used for other productions, including “Pleasantville” and the TV series “Pushing Daisies.”

This Warner Bros. Ranch is separate from the main Warner backlot and unfortunately not open to public tours at this time.

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LOCATION: 411 N Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA 91505

Another set from the film, The Inner Child toy store, is located over on the main studio lot of Warner Bros. and can in fact be seen on their studio tour.  The building was famously later used as the coffee shop where Emma Stone works in “La La Land.”

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LOCATION: 4000 Warner Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505

Some of the establishing shots of the town were filmed at Orange Circle.  A popular filming spot, Orange Circle has also been featured in such films as “That Thing You Do!,” “Big Momma’s House,” “Frailty” and many more.

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LOCATION: 100 S Glassell St, Orange, CA 92866

Related articles: Matinee (1993), The ‘Burbs (1989)

Matinee (1993)

Joe Dante’s 1993 film “Matinee,” starring John Goodman, is set in Key West, Florida.  Much of the film centers around a movie theater known as The Strand.  There is a real, historic theater by that name in Key West, the exteriors of which still stand, but the interior is now a pharmacy store.  It also was not the theater used in the film.

The building which served as The Strand for filming wasn’t in Key West at all.  It’s the Historic Cocoa Village Playhouse, which can be found in the town of Cocoa, Florida.  While the theater does still show films on a limited basis, it primarily serves as a playhouse.  Only the playhouse exteriors were used in the film.  The interior theater scenes were filmed at Universal Studios Florida.

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LOCATION: 260 Brevard Ave, Cocoa, FL 32922

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Related articles: The ‘Burbs (1989), Small Soldiers (1998)

The ‘Burbs (1989)

The 1989 Joe Dante film “The ‘Burbs” is set in the fictional town of Hinkley Hills, which, judging by the opening zoom, would place it somewhere in Iowa.  The story unfolds on Mayfield Place, a cul-de-sac road in Hinkley Hills.  In reality, the entire neighborhood was a facade, filmed on a studio backlot.

Known as Colonial Street at Universal Studios, the houses and streets have changed significantly over the years.  Once used for television classics such as “The Munsters” and “Leave It To Beaver,” the neighborhood was significantly remodeled in 1988 for the production of “The ‘Burbs.”

LOCATION: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

In the years that followed, as new productions came along, the neighborhood and the homes began to resemble the film less and less.  Some houses were relocated, others heavily redesigned, while others still were demolished altogether.  Eventually the neighborhood became known as Wisteria Lane on the TV drama “Desperate Housewives.”

To complicate matters further, several of the houses in “The ‘Burbs” were deliberately shot in close-ups, rarely seen in wide shots.  Combined with all of the changes over the years, it makes piecing the neighborhood back together a difficult endeavor.

The centerpiece of the film is of course the Klopek house, which is owned by a creepy family that rarely shows themselves, much to the intrigue of all of the surrounding neighbors.  Sadly, the home no longer exists.  Portions, however, were said to have been reused and incorporated in the design of this house, which later became Bree Van de Kamp’s house on “Desperate Housewives.”

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The Peterson house, where Tom Hanks and Carrie Fisher live, was also unfortunately demolished and replaced with a different facade.

The house that most closely resembles how it appeared in the film is that of Walter, the old man with the small, white dog.  Aside from a paint job and some stairs being added, the house looks pretty much the same.

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Ricky Butler, played by Corey Feldman, lives at this house, which was once the home used for “The Munsters,” though it has since been heavily remodeled from how it appeared on the TV series.  Likely looking to avoid comparisons to the show, this house was only ever seen in close-up shots of the porch in “The ‘Burbs.”

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Colonial Street can be seen as part of the Universal Studios Hollywood Tour and even though the neighborhood has significantly changed and continues to change, movie and television lovers are still sure to appreciate a look around the historic, fictional neighborhood.

Related articles: Matinee (1993), Small Soldiers (1998)