Warner Bros Discovery on Thursday said it planned to expand production capacity at its Leavesden studios near London by more than 50%, adding 10 new sound stages to the facility where much of the “Barbie” blockbuster and HBO’s “House of the Dragon” were filmed.
The project, announced during a visit to Los Angeles by British Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt, is expected to create some 4,000 direct and indirect jobs, the company said in a statement.
Hunt told Reuters in a telephone interview that the investment would total 245 million pounds ($301 million).
Warner Bros said it would increase the value of Leavesden’s annual film and television production by 200 million pounds ($245.9 million), bringing it to 600 million pounds ($737.6 million a year, Warner Bros Discovery said.
The investment comes as Warner Bros Discovery’s California production has been hit with the first joint writers’ and actors’ strikes in 63 years, delaying major projects and prompting it to slash revenue forecasts for the rest of this year.
The Leavesden project’s construction is due to start in the second quarter of 2024, with completion in 2027 and will bring the facility’s total stages to 29 from 19 currently.
Hunt said the Leavesden project “is a huge vote of confidence in the UK” and will benefit from longstanding British tax breaks for local film and television production.
“The UK ambition is to be the world’s next Silicon Valley, and we think we’re already Europe’s technology and entertainment hub. And this is another step towards that,” he said. — Reuters