back to article If you want less CGI and more real effects in movies, you may get your wish: Inflatable film studio to orbit Earth

Space Entertainment Enterprise (SEE), a UK-based media company, has commissioned Axiom Space in Texas to build an inflatable space station module for orbital media production. On Thursday, the media firm, which claims to be working on "the first ever Hollywood motion picture filmed in outer space," reportedly involving Tom …

  1. Sampler

    Small problem

    Don't sci-fi films (which I'm going to take a punt will utilize the zero g) typically make lackluster returns at the box office to cover the costs?

    So who exactly is going to fund this?

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: fictional problem

      Wakipedia has a handy list of Scifi films. There is a large serving of selection bias as I try to watch only good films and I could only separate out which films had zero-G if I had seen them. Most Scifi had no zero-G at all. Scifi that I have seen so know does include (at least a little) zero-G made a good return on investment according to wakipedia. The first three I checked did well financially: Captain Marvel, Passengers and Avengers: Endgame.

      There is certainly Scifi that bombed, just like any other genre. If zero-G Scifi had not stepped up and provided some money then there is a genre that is famous for being early adopters of new video technology: P0rn. I think real zero-G film making has a clear business case: rich actors who want to go into orbit as a business expense.

      (Watch out for Hollywood accounting: they try to pay percentage of the profits then divert the profits to their own over-priced post-production and distribution companies. Only percentage of the gross and fixed fee are worth working for.)

    2. fredskis

      Re: Small problem

      Action films. Scenes that require millions in CGI scenes or stunts when they can be replicated in microgravity more easily. As an example, the whole premise was kicked off by Mission Impossible.

      1. Sixtiesplastictrektableware

        Re: Small problem

        Because... there are no financially weak action movies?

    3. HelpfulJohn

      Re: Small problem

      "Stardancer" by Spider Robinson.

      You don't buy horse manure. You have stables and the fertiliser is free.

      "But what, " asks the USAlien jock, "would I *do* in a city on the Moon?"

      I answer: "Do you want fries with that?"

      You sell the heat. The ash is a useful, free by-product.

      I thought Billionaires were supposed to be imaginative, innovative wealth creators? For such "far-sighted" people they sure have had centuries of being massively myopic.

      Skylab could have done this in the 1970's. Fifty years ago.

    4. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

      Re: Small problem

      >So who exactly is going to fund this?

      It is just a trial balloon.

  2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Union rules

    Isn't there extra pay for shooting more than 30 miles from Hollywood, and that's why the entire universe seems to look like Topanga canyon and Leo Carrillo beach

    How much are the scene shifters going to charge for going to space?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Union rules

      Nothing, less than 30 miles up is okay.

    2. HelpfulJohn

      Re: Union rules

      Nothing.

      Or, more accurately, nothing *extra* as they will live and work there permanently.

      I thought that was the long-term plan? Or don't we have that any longer?

  3. Twanky Silver badge

    Breathtaking

    Inflatable space station module:

    ...convey the experience of weightlessness with breathtaking impact,

    Didn't anyone else find this phrase disturbing?

    Oh, just me then.

    1. Sixtiesplastictrektableware

      Re: Breathtaking

      Dude, I can't get past the whole 'solution looking for a problem' thing.

      To say nothing of venturing into the grandeur of space to tell human fictional stories. For serious, we can't think of anything else better to do but talk about ourselves?

      With all the most sincere and due respect, your concern with this particular point of stupid is mooted quite handily by all the surrounding stupid which has lead us to this very stupid point.

      But, yeah. Weightlessness? Impact? Not the go-to imagery for this.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Solution looking for a problem...

        Let's face it Arthur... these zeebs here aren't your ancestors. The human race is currently sitting around that rock over there making documentaries about themselves.

      2. HelpfulJohn

        Re: Breathtaking

        There can be no "Westerns" without the West. No "L.A. Gang versus Cops" movies without an L.A. No "Ice Station Zebra" without an Ice-world.

        I don't say any of these are "good" but USofA has given us Johnny Cash, Blues, Hollywood, Superman, Tacos [well them and Mexico a little] and loads of other stuff Europe, Asia and Africa would never have invented.

        Europe gave us lots of other things. Asia, too once people walked there from their Kenyan origin lands.

        THERE IS NO WAY TO PREDICT WHAT RICHES OFF-WORLD SITES WOULD ADD TO THE HUMAN CONDITION AND OUR CIVILISATION.

        For sure, it would *start* with more "Westerns". But two Ages-of-USA later those offplanet folks would be doing stuff we could never dream of.

        The Dream Of Stars is not about merely buying chips on Triton. It was about expanding the species, about making *new* species, about making the Human Galaxies an eternal cradle of ubiquitous and everlasting peoples who colossally expand the human experience.

        Mankind takes the stars or this world is his grave.

        1. Claverhouse Silver badge

          Re: Breathtaking

          Most of my ancestors' graves are in this world.

          Never did any of them any harm.

        2. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Breathtaking

          What about Ice-cold in Alex?

      3. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Breathtaking

        Dude, I can't get past the whole 'solution looking for a problem' thing.

        It's not about a solution or a problem. It's about greed and millionaires wanting more.

    2. teknopaul Silver badge

      Re: Breathtaking

      "boundless entertainment possibilities" is also a bit rich given you have to fit cast and crew in a six meter sphere.

  4. Natalie Gritpants Jr Silver badge

    Hair and makeup

    Going to need to upgrade the filters or the rest of the ISS will smell like a perfume department.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So Zero G Porn then...

    That could certainly get .... messy.

    1. Francis Boyle

      Re: So Zero G Porn then...

      Don't worry. I'm sure there's a Space Corps directive to cover that.

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "It's incredibly expensive to get into space, [..] That's the main hurdle."

    Well, there's also the niggling little detail that you just might go boom trying to get there.

    And when I read that, before hauling up the gigantic tennis ball, they first have to add an entire new module to the ISS, well here's me saying nope, won't happen.

    Not unless they have an entire multiverse planned and we are on track for getting a dozen films with genuine weightlessness - which will likely get boring right around the second film, or the third at best, if the first two were good.

    Bullet-time was an incredible gimmick when The Matrix served it up for the first time. It has rarely been so well used since. I'm guessing zero-gee won't fare much better.

    Finally, they need to do more than break even if they intend to make more than one film. If, before you've even started filming, you've already slashed $200 million from your budget, well you'd better pray that the public is going to flock to the cinemas in droves to see your film because otherwise, that space module will end up as additional storage space until the ISS is decommissioned and sent to burn up in the atmosphere.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: "It's incredibly expensive to get into space, [..] That's the main hurdle."

      you just might go boom trying to get there.

      At least they'll get some good stock footage.

    2. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: "It's incredibly expensive to get into space, [..] That's the main hurdle."

      Not unless they have an entire multiverse planned and we are on track for getting a dozen films with genuine weightlessness - which will likely get boring right around the second film, or the third at best, if the first two were good.

      I think I saw Endemol listed as one of the parties. Perhaps they're thinking BB in space. Would certainly have potential for quite the difference to "You have been evicted..please exit via the airlock" (...to space of course)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "It's incredibly expensive to get into space, [..] That's the main hurdle."

        Remember Doctor Who once had a BB in space episode.

        Those voted off were zapped. Long before squid games!

        1. Sixtiesplastictrektableware

          Point Avoider

          Best Doctor Who zero-G moment ever is Davison getting back to an airlock by bouncing a cricket ball off a spaceship hull, catching it, and the momentum pushing him back to the ship.

          After that, even legit zero-G seems kinda uneventful.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    launch its Ax1 mission – the first private mission to the ISS and a precursor to the deployment of Axiom Station – on March 31, 2022.

    Not on April 1st, then?

  8. TRT Silver badge

    Wasn't there very recently...

    something about the first porno filmed in space?

    Or did I just dream that?

  9. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Ahhh...

    Ahhh... finally perhaps a way to finally convince the flat Earthers that they are wrong. Obvs, because there isn't enough out there already to fill their bored and deliberately contrary little heads.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The future of space is commercial"

    > "The future of space is commercial"

    What a horrifying thought.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: "The future of space is commercial"

      Only from the point of view of "blue sky" science and exploration. In terms of getting people and industry up there and possible future viable colonies either in orbit, on the Moon or Mars, commercial is likely the only way it's going to happen. Just look at what the USA is spending *per launch* on SLS. No way is there going to be a Moon or Mars shuttle to service a permanent base at those prices. More likely it'll be a public/private partnership with the likes of NASA/ESA/JAXA/China etc funding science and astronomy at a Moonbase if commercial providers build it and factor the leasing/rental agreements into their profit sheets. But even that is a stretch with current capabilities. What can be made on the Moon better/cheaper than on Earth to justify the transport and living costs?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A new series of Space Cadets?

    They could make a new series of Space Cadets, and film it on location this time.

  12. Cuddles Silver badge

    Space is big

    This module isn't. 6m is about half the length of my living room. Allow space for cameras, other equipment, off-screen staff, and so on, and you end up with maybe a 4m sphere at best. If the claimed "about 6" is actually less than 6 and refers to external dimensions, you'll be lucky to get as much as a 3m space. The average adult male is a little under 2m tall. What exactly do they plan on filming that can be done with a grand total of 1m of movement? People are talking about action films doing stunts that would be cheaper to film in microgravity than to do in CGI, but how much action can you show that barely even has space for someone to move out of frame?

    As a proof of concept showing you can launch a module into space and use cameras inside it, it's completely pointless because we've already done it. As an actual film studio, it might be good for porn or a sitcom set in a single apartment. The whole point of filming in space would be to have enough... space to show things behaving differently from how they do on Earth. If you can't do that, what's the point?

    1. HelpfulJohn

      Re: Space is big

      "... because we've already done it."

      Yerp, Skylab.

      They had all sorts of dancing and physics experiments for the children in Skylab because it had quite a bit of room. Had they sent up more [and building hundreds is *always* cheaper, per unit, than just one] they could have had hand-egg games, pseudo-golf, acrobatics that would make little Olga envious and things no one down here in the mud has ever thought of.

      And that's just the sports.

      Imagine base-jumping from Olympus Mons or the ice-cliffs of Mimas. That one would need some thinking through as Mimas has no atmosphere to drag but I'm fairly sure a bouncy suit could be devised.

      Imagine the Sun rising behind a kilometric Cross on Eros. Or a service held in the glows of the tails of Halley. That would entail really good glass but that's just chemistry and engineering.

      There are no anti-trust laws on Luna. No separation of church and state in Hermes City.

      No fish-and-chippy on Ganymede. The first guy to open one would have a limitless franchise opportunity.

      All of the above are simply "business-as-usual" with a few tiny tweaks. The third generation off-worlders would not think like us. Their contributions to economies, cultures, governance, sciences, technologies and Life In General would be ... cosmic.

      It's a pity that the Dream Of Stars is dead and only a tiny few of we Dreamers remain.

  13. Claverhouse Silver badge

    Boris is going to sue for copyright violation

    "It will provide a unique, and accessible home for boundless entertainment possibilities in a venue packed with innovative infrastructure which will unleash a new world of creativity."

    1. HelpfulJohn

      Re: Boris is going to sue for copyright violation

      Yeah, that's what I said but pithier. :)

  14. Timbo Bronze badge

    It's time for a 2001 space wheel !

    When was 2001: A Space Odyssey filmed? 1968

    When was 2001 (the year): 21 years ago...

    What I want to see if someone put up the money for a "space wheel", which as I recall, even in the film could be seen still undergoing construction (and hence it is obvious how it could be built - simple frame and then add the walls to each section ).

    The film version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZoSYsNADtY

    The 2009 CGI version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ll_6RimCuM

    And then there should be plenty of space for a "space toilet", "videophone with large display" and lots of curvy (maybe inflatable?) comfy chairs...so, why not have some space for a film studio? Perhaps a version of "Romeo and Juliet in space"...Shakespeare would have loved his play being performed as it was meant to be seen...in zero G !! hahahahaha

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: It's time for a 2001 space wheel !

      Yeah, imagine a 6-way docking adaptor with a modified SpaceX Starship permanently attached at it's nose to four of the ports, leaving two for visitors/shuttles/lifeboats. Maybe modified Starships where the engine/fuel section is detachable so another one could dock in at the back. Two or more Starships lined up on those four permanent docking ports. Spin the whole thing slowly with a nice gravity gradient down the spokes.

  15. that one in the corner

    Space just looks so fake

    What are the chances that they'll end up tugging the actors around on elastic because the focus group says that just leaving all the motion up to Sir Isaac "doesn't look believable to the theater-going public"?

  16. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    One-way ticket?

    claims to be working on "the first ever Hollywood motion picture filmed in outer space," reportedly involving Tom Cruise

    This is going to be a problem.1 No one's managed to bring Cruise down to earth yet.

    1For small values of "problem".

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