Production delays and cancellations stemming from the long-running U.S. writers’ strike have hit profits at leading U.K. studios group Pinewood Shepperton.
Net revenues for the year ending Dec. 31 were down 14.7% on 2006 to £37.4 million ($68.9 million).Operating profits slid 29.5% to $14.1 million. “Delays to production starts and the Writers Guild of America strike, now resolved, impacted film revenues significantly,” said chairman Michael Grade. “Volatility in film revenues can only be countered by growing our non-film revenues, in particular in television and property.”
TV revs did show improvement in 2007, up 2.5% to $24 million. The company attributed this to a high level of TV business in the past six months, partly driven by new clients. The big hit for Pinewood Shepperton came in the fourth quarter when Columbia Pictures’ Tom Hanks starrer “Angels & Demons,” the prequel to “The Da Vinci Code,” cancelled in November. As predicted at the time, that hit ancillary film revenues by $6 million.
Also in November, Pinewood Shepperton unveiled Project Pinewood, an ambitious scheme to double the size of the historic studios and create a live-work environment. An application for permits is planned for late 2008.
This year is going better according to the operating review, with trading to date ahead of the equivalent period last year. Upcoming Bond film “Quantum of Solace” and Universal’s “The Wolfman” have used the studios this year.
Looking to the future, Grade said: “Despite the challenges emerging in the global economy, the markets in which we operate are historically resilient in times of a consumer downturn.”