Warner Bros launches $155 million UK movie studio
By Mike Collett-White
LONDON (Reuters) - The Harry Potter film franchise is at an end, but Hollywood studio Warner Bros has extended its involvement in British cinema with the launch this week of a new 100 million pound ($155 million) studio complex just outside London.
The state-of-the-art film and television studios are set on a 200-acre site and include huge sound stages, one of the largest heated underwater filming tanks in Europe and a 100-acre "clear horizon" back-lot for outdoor scenes.
Warner Bros Studios Leavesden, where much of the eight-film Harry Potter series was shot, goes head-to-head with other major British facilities, including Pinewood Studios located just a few miles away.
The investment by the Time Warner Inc-owned Hollywood studio, which acquired Leavesden in 2010, has been seen as a vote of confidence in British film-making at a time of economic uncertainty in across Europe.
"We have confidence in the future of the British film industry and the production business generally, and we intend to continue to make movies and TV shows here," said Josh Berger, president of Warner Bros UK, Ireland and Spain.
"We're coming off a very strong period for British film - global blockbusters made alongside smaller but incredibly successful films," he told Reuters.
"There is no reason to think that that should change dramatically in the future and our investment in Leavesden is another of those reasons to be bullish."
In addition to Harry Potter, a record-breaking franchise which grossed $7.7 billion in global ticket sales, Warner Bros has filmed "Sherlock Holmes", "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Wrath of the Titans" at Leavesden. Continued...