×

Snaring the big Hollywood pictures

U.K.'s tax credit lures in large productions

With £780 million ($1.25 billion) in inward investment, it’s already a record year for foreign production in the U.K., beating the 2009 high of $1.2 billion.

Most of that money comes from big-budget Hollywood projects. The U.K.’s tax credit is particularly attractive for such films, because it has no ceiling, and it applies to all U.K. expenditure, including the salaries of American talent.

Several $150 million-plus films booked into Blighty this year. Disney’s “John Carter of Mars” built giant sets at Longcross Studios, a former tank-testing base converted into a production facility. It also used Shepperton and converted a vacant warehouse in nearby Greenford into a temporary soundstage.

Snaring “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” was a big coup, as none of the three previous installments shot in the U.K. It came to Pinewood this fall after location shooting in Hawaii.

Marvel’s “Captain America” based itself at Shepperton, but went on location around Liverpool and Manchester.

Fox brought the Matthew Vaughn-helmed “X-Men: First Class” to Pinewood. Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse” from DreamWorks has offices at Longcross but is shooting on location. Martin Scorsese’s 3D “Hugo Cabret” from GK Films is in extended residency at Shepperton.

Warner Bros., traditionally the studio with the largest commitment to U.K. production, is finally coming to the end of “Harry Potter” at Leavesden Studios. Leavesden started as a temporary facility but evolved into a permanent base. Warner has taken over the site for redevelopment and will reopen it as a full-service studio and visitor attraction in 2012.

With Leavesden out of action, Warner has several current or upcoming projects booked into other studios, including “Sherlock Holmes 2” and “Clash of the Titans 2.” Helmer Chris Nolan will return to his usual airship hangar in Cardington to shoot the next Batman.

Universal used Ealing Studios for “Johnny English Reborn.” Tim Burton’s latest stop-motion project, “Frankenweenie,” backed by Disney, is shooting at 3 Mills Studios in east London, while Sony is bankrolling two films from Aardman’s animation studio in Bristol, “Pirates!” and “Arthur Christmas.”

Indie pics squeezed in amid the blockbusters include Madonna’s “W.E,” Lone Scherfig’s “One Day,” “The Woman in Black” from Hammer Films, Jonathan Newman’s “Foster” and Tanya Wexler’s “Hysteria.”

More articles from Scout & About: U.K.
Transfer of power in the U.K. | Snaring Hollywood | Educating Eastwood on mighty Blighty | Soho hothouse

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Rita And Tom Hanks Coronavirus

    Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson Return to U.S. After Coronavirus Diagnosis in Australia

    Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are back home in the U.S. after they revealed they had contracted coronavirus and were quarantined in Australia. Hanks gave an update on Twitter Saturday morning, thanking everyone who had helped them in Australia and assuring people that they are still isolating themselves in the U.S. “Hey, folks…We’re home now [...]

  • Film Comment Magazine Goes on Hiatus

    Film Comment Magazine to Go on Hiatus as Film at Lincoln Center Lays Off Half of Staff

    Many companies are being financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and the Film at Lincoln Center is the latest organization to have to lay off employees and pause some of their operations. On Friday, executive director Lesli Klainberg released a memo announcing that the center had to furlough or lay off about half of its [...]

  • "Birds of Prey" egg sandwich

    'Birds of Prey' Actor Bruno Oliver Recreates Harley Quinn's Famous Sandwich

    When actor Bruno Oliver booked the role of short order cook Sal in “Birds of Prey: (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn),” he had no idea how significant Sal and his breakfast sandwich were to the story. “You couldn’t tell from the audition necessarily and as actors, we always worry about our scenes [...]

  • Minyan

    'Minyan': Film Review

    Best known for the unexpectedly soul-shattering San Francisco suicide doc “The Bridge,” indie filmmaker Eric Steel came out and came of age in 1980s New York at a moment just before AIDS devastated the city’s gay community. Such timing must have been surreal, to assume something so liberating about one’s own identity, only to watch [...]

  • Animated Movie 'The Queen's Corgi' Fetches

    Film New Roundup: Animated Movie 'The Queen's Corgi' Fetches North American Distribution

    In today’s film news roundup, “The Queen’s Corgi” finds a home, the Overlook Film Festival is postponed and the California Film Commission adjusts its tax credit rules due to the coronavirus. ACQUISITION Freestyle Digital Media has acquired North American rights to the animated family comedy feature “The Queen’s Corgi,” and plans to make it available on DVD and to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content