UPDATED: The modern British isles may have been rocked to their core by the this week’s vote to exit the European Union, but the move will have no immediate impact on the mythical continents of Westeros and Essos.
“We do not anticipate that the result of the EU Referendum will have any material effect on HBO producing ‘Game of Thrones,’” makers of the hit series said in a statement Friday.
Some productions could be harmed because of disappearing tax breaks or subsidies, but people close to “Game of Thrones” said the series already has succeeded without support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDC) for the past few seasons.
Most of the big studios and other Hollywood production companies, taking a wait-and-see attitude, declined to comment on the passage of the measure known as “Brexit” — for Britain exiting the 28-nation alliance that lowers barriers to trade, travel and immigration.
One physical production executive said that her studio stood to realize a short term gain, because it waited until after the vote to negotiate terms for shooting an upcoming film in the United Kingdom. The passage of Brexit led to a crash in the British pound — which dipped to a three-decade low of just over $1.32 before recovering slightly to $1.37 — a net drop of 7.4 percent.
“Some people bought their currency forward last week and so this kind of stinks for them,” said the executive, who declined to be named. “We have a shoot coming up later this year and we waited and so we are getting a lot better conversion rate. It certainly impacts our ultimate costs.”
In converse, film receipts coming from Britain in the form of the weakened Sterling will be worth less to their overseas producers. “Our production manager was having a drink to celebrate but our friends on the distribution side are not so happy,” said the source. Several entertainment executives said it was uncertain how the diverging forces would eventually net out.
Other Hollywood executives said they are concerned that the change will mean it will be harder to move talent and equipment in and out of Britain. Visas that were not needed under the EU will now be required to move crews in and out of the country. “It’s just one more bureaucratic step we have been freed from that will begin again,” said one official, who also declined to be named. “But the unwinding of England from the organization and figuring out what processes and regulations will be changed is impossible to know right now.”
The Motion Picture Assn. of American called for a measured response. “While it will take time to understand the full implications of the referendum result, we urge the UK Government to prioritize a stable environment for the film and television sector,” said the MPAA’s statement, “to ensure it continues to be a driver for jobs and growth in the years to come.”