The Asylum

Location: Burbank, CA

Founded: 1997


The Asylum grinds out 10 to 15 films per year. They specialize in straight-to-DVD releases and made-for-TV movies, with more than 300 titles produced thus far by the North American division. 

Notable Products

  • Mega Piranha
  • Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus
  • Transmorphers
  • Paranormal Entity

What to Expect

In addition to its affinity for films starring creatures of unusual size, the Asylum has been dubbed the “mock-buster” moviemaker. When a particular genre or theme is dominating the box office, this studio takes the opportunity to capitalize on that market demand by producing its own cheaper version. Simply put, the Asylum makes whatever sells. Orders come in from retailers like Blockbuster and Netflix for a specific type of film and the studio gets cracking, churning out the next campy college comedy or slasher picture.

The Asylum makes a movie a month; Merlin and the War of the Dragons was shot in about 14 days. On set the crews are small (fewer than 10 on Merlin) and the budgets are low—between $250,000 and $500,000. This is a lesson in making movies the hard way; you’ve got to be a creative problem-solver to overcome the money constraints and get the job done. There are few, if any, assistants attending to the needs of the crew leads. If you need something done, you’re going to have to do it yourself. So what’s the upside? Work—and plenty of it. Crews on big-budget films might work on one or two projects per year, but at the Asylum you might get a dozen credits on your résumé in the same amount of time.


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