Using antiques as set decorations in Hollywood's biggest movies

FOXBusiness.com's Serena Elavia talks to Jake Baer, the CEO of Newel Antiques, about the big business of renting props to Hollywood sets.

Setting the Scene: Hollywood's Décor Secrets Revealed

By Retail FOXBusiness

On the set of HBO’s (TWX) hit show ‘Boardwalk Empire,’ there’s a birdcage featured prominently in the show. One might think that it’s just a random birdcage, but there’s a story behind it.

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It comes from Newel, one of the premier antique warehouses in the country.

Jake Baer, Newel’s CEO, said renting antiques to set decorators is becoming a booming business.

“In the past five years, it’s been a 20% annual increase, so it’s been pretty significant” Newel told FOXBusiness.com

After the 2008 financial crisis, the antiques market took a downturn. Baer estimates that over 50% of Newel's competition is no longer in business. But now it’s getting a boost from shows and films that want the best sets. 

Newel, with its thousands of antiques, says it can provide almost anything shows are looking for

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“Shows like ‘The Knick’ where they need more Victorian furniture, we have that. If it’s a show like ‘Billions’ and they need more modern, more sleek type of line furniture, we have that too” Baer said.

The company has provided decor for multiple shows including HBO’s ‘Vinyl,' Fox’s (FOXA) ‘Gotham,’ and Showtime’s (CBS) ‘Billions.’

The items can be as simple as desks used in USA’s (CMCSA) ‘Mr. Robot’ and 'Madam Secretary,' or as fancy as paintings used in 'Gotham.'

With 30% of Newel’s revenue now coming from the prop rental business, the company is partnering with smaller antique stores to grow and meet demand.

“Ideally I think in the next two years we can double” Baer said in reference to the amount of business prop rentals bring in.