The official WATCHMEN blog posts pictures of the film’s backlot.

Wmd-21550 Select

This ain’t no green screen.

According to director Zack Snyder:

Here are a few interesting facts about the backlot:

• 5,800 feet of neon requiring 24,000 watts of power
• 100 unique and custom-designed graphics created for the various storefronts
• 5,000 square feet of custom posters
• Street had to work for 1938, 1945, 1953, 1957, 1964, 1974, 1975, 1977, and 1985
• 1,040 feet of 1:1 scale New York streets
• 98,400 square feet of exterior scenery
• 12,500 square feet of interior scenery
• Building heights range from 23’9″ to 42’6″
• 10,325 16-foot 2x4s
• 3,600 sheets of OSB (plywood-like construction material)
• 384,000 square feet of foam brick
• 200,000 nails
• 3,500 tubes of construction adhesive
• 160,000 lbs. of steel I-beams support the facades
• 300 cubic meters of concrete
• 6,000 square feet of glass
• 4,800 square feet of plexiglass
• 20,000 donuts were consumed by the construction crew
• 20,000 gallons of water and 3,000 gallons of Gatorade was drunk by the crew

This ’80s view of New York is so grungy that it inspires an entire thread at New York real estate site Curbed about how New York USED to be:

God I miss that. Just looking at it gets me misty-eyed. Yep, good times, cheap apt’s, real people, restaurants that served real food, not some microscopic angolian seabass with a champagne reduction. Sure we had upscale restaurants, but even a place like Le Caravelle ( RIP ) served honest haute cuisine. Just for the record for all you pussies out there that keep whining about how it was sooooooo dangerous- that’s freaking bullshit. Now run along and snatch-up your tall, skim, mocha, chocolate chip, vanilla sprinkled latte and move on.


  1. Anytime I despair about the level of discourse in the comics blogosphere, all I have to do is check out the New York City real estate blogosphere.

  2. Amazing … Backlots can be a good thing, if they’re used to double for a city street. NOT a homogenized street which can be all but readily identified in most every cop show made from 1950 through 1985. I’ve seen David Banner, the Duke Boys, Michael Knight, and many other tv heroes walked through the same damn “town square” at least six times each in most shows. And there’s never any trash or graffiti anywhere. Talk about science fiction and fantasy!

  3. Anyone who used to think that all of the old New York was a good thing is a moron.

    Granted, you could get a place cheaper, but even as a young boy, going into the city was an adventure where every ten feet you walked, you were accosted by some grungy street person looking to rip you off or worse.

  4. I agree with michael. Whenever someone bemoans the ‘realness’ of old NYC I have to chuckle. I used to visit my grandma in Washington Heights and whenever we would sleep over, me and my brothers would lie awake listening to gunshots go off in the night. They were like the goddamn urban crickets. Plus she lived ACROSS the street from a precinct.

    Also whenever they wax poetic about ‘Snake Plissken’ era NY they mean Manhatten. If a hole is what you seek, go to the Bronx. It’s still a hole.

  5. “Just for the record for all you pussies out there that keep whining about how it was sooooooo dangerous- that’s freaking bullshit.”

    Actual nostalgia for the David Dinkins New York City? Unbelievable.