WGA strike burns Pinewood

Stock falls following 'Angels' shutdown

Pinewood Shepperton has been dealt a hefty blow from the writers strike, which has led a major film to shutter production at the U.K. studios group.

Pinewood announced the cancellation on Thursday but declined to name the pic or say why it had been shut down.

Sources suggest the film is Columbia Picture’s Tom Hanks starrer “Angels & Demons,” the prequel to “The Da Vinci Code.” Execs had said that production would be pushed back due to strike-related script delays.

According to industry sources, Ron Howard’s pic has already set up a production office at Shepperton and was gearing up to build sets during the winter, ready for shooting to begin in February.

Pinewood Shepperton share prices fell 20p (40¢) to $4.90 after the announcement.

“While the terms of the customer’s contracted use of film stages with the company are to be honored, the cancellation of this production, during the current Writers Guild of America strike, will adversely impact ancillary film revenues by approximately £3 million ($6.2 million), mainly in 2008,” said Pinewood in a statement.

“Against the context of the current Writers Guild strike and the uncertainty of the forthcoming negotiations of the Screen Actors Guild, whilst every effort will now be made to replace the above revenues, this will prove challenging.”

News of the high-profile cancellation confirms city analysts’ fears: “The writers strike has added another variable outside Pinewood’s control to go with uncertainties over the tax relief system and the exchange rate. This is not a good thing,” said Iain Staples, an analyst with Clear Capital.

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