×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Plans for New London Film Studio Run Into Difficulties

Plans to build a major new film and TV studio complex in London to take advantage of Britain’s production boom have run into difficulties.

Be First, the local Barking and Dagenham Council’s regeneration company spearheading the project, says that Los Angeles-based developer Pacifica Ventures will no longer be involved in the project. Pacifica was selected last year as the preferred bidder to build the studios on a 20-acre site in Dagenham, in East London. The firm has previously designed, developed and built large-scale film studios including the Albuquerque Studios in New Mexico and the Sun Center Studios outside Philadelphia.

But Pacifica Ventures will now no longer be involved, and their exclusivity period as a preferred bidder has lapsed, said Pat Hayes, Be First’s managing director.

“Pacifica told us they were finding it difficult to deliver their plans due to uncertainty over the U.K. leaving the European Union,” Hayes said. “But what is not in doubt is the viability and demand for studio space in the U.K., which remains sky high, and that is why I am convinced there will be plenty of interest from parties who want to make sure movies will be made in Dagenham.”

A Pacifica spokesman said: “Pacifica Ventures remains very much committed to the Dagenham Studios project, but unfortunately we and our investors have been forced to put the project “on hold” until the Brexit uncertainty has been resolved.

“We understand that the Council wants to move forward more quickly and they have our blessing if a third-party should offer an alternative proposal that is acceptable to them. We hope that won’t be the case and that we’ll be able to re-start the project very soon.  We are confident that the British Film Industry will remain strong in a post-Brexit future.”

The plans for the Made in Dagenham studios called for 12 sound stages and a major events center. On Tuesday night, the Barking and Dagenham Council approved a new proposal for Be First to design and seek planning permission for a studio complex on the site.

Darren Rodwell, the leader of the council, said: “If we get planning permission to build our Made in Dagenham studios, there are some exciting options – we could build them ourselves or we can work with any of the ambitious dynamic media companies who share our vision of making movies in what will be London’s Hollywood.”

Be First will now push ahead with design work itself, continue discussions with potential operators, investors and joint ventures, and submit a planning application in the New Year.

Adrian Wootton, chief executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “I’m delighted that the proposals to move forward with the designs for the Made in Dagenham studios have been agreed.

“U.K. film and high-end TV production is enjoying a sustained and exceptional boom time, contributing billions to the economy each year, and it is crucial that we capitalize on this by continuing to develop our world-class infrastructure and provide access to as much purpose-built studio space as we possibly can.”

The U.K. is struggling with a shortage of studio space amid booming levels of film and television production. Last month, Disney struck a long-term deal with historic Pinewood Studios outside London to take nearly all its stages, backlots and other production accommodation. Earlier this year, Netflix announced a similar arrangement to set up a production hub at Shepperton Studios, which is also owned by the Pinewood Group.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Steven Spielberg Branko Lustig

    'He Left Me Speechless': Steven Spielberg Remembers Branko Lustig

    Steven Spielberg has offered a touching remembrance of Branko Lustig, the Holocaust survivor who produced “Schindler’s List” with Spielberg and Gerald Molen and died Thursday in Croatia. “I was heartbroken to hear of Branko’s passing and my thoughts are with his family and friends,” Spielberg said. “When we first met to discuss ‘Schindler’s List,’ he [...]

  • Dylan Brosnan and Paris BrosnanGolden Globe

    Pierce Brosnan’s Sons Paris and Dylan Brosnan Named 2020 Golden Globe Ambassadors

    Pierce Brosnan’s two youngest sons, Paris and Dylan Brosnan, have been named as the 2020 Golden Globe Ambassadors, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced on Thursday evening. Paris and Dylan are also the sons of journalist and author Keely Shaye Smith. The ambassador(s), a title that typically goes to the son or daughter of a [...]

  • Joaquin Phoenix'Joker' film premiere, Arrivals, 57th

    Film News Roundup: Joaquin Phoenix Honored by Palm Springs Film Festival

    In today’s film news roundup, Joaquin Phoenix is honored for “Joker”; Legion M backs Joe Manganiello’s “Archenemy”; sales have launched on “Lev Yashin: The Dream Goalkeeper”; Warner Bros. shuffles execs and Universal launches a first-of-its-kind animation writing program. HONOR Joaquin Phoenix has been selected as the recipient of the Palm Springs International Film Festival’s chairman’s [...]

  • Danny Huston

    Danny Huston Discusses the Significance of 'Last Photograph'

    In the decades since Danny Huston made his feature directing debut with “Mr. North,” his 1988 film adaptation of the Thornton Wilder novel “Theophilus North,” he has kept busy in front of the cameras as one of film and television’s most versatile and sophisticated character players. In just the past year, small-screen viewers have been [...]

  • Rocketman

    'Rocketman': Chris Dickens Discusses the Inside Story of Editing 'I'm Still Standing'

    Endings are so important and how the viewer leaves the cinema is crucial. For editor Chris Dickens, finding the perfect ending for “Rocketman” was paramount, but it was also a challenge. Elton John’s hit “I’m Still Standing” was going to end the film with the original idea of going to Cannes to recreate the video [...]

  • A general view of the skyline

    United Media Asia Strikes Deal With Indonesian Giant Kompas Gramedia

    Newly-formed content finance, production and distribution company United Media Asia has struck a first look deal, brokered by Hollywood talent agency CAA, with Indonesian media giant Kompas Gramedia. United has also unveiled its first two feature films. The partnership provides UMA with access to Kompas Gramedia’s media network and its 100,000 pieces of intellectual property, [...]

  • Taron Egerton Fashion

    Taron Egerton's Stylist Used Elton John as Inspiration on Press Tour

    Showstopping looks: For Taron Egerton’s “Rocketman” tour, stylist Gareth Scourfield nodded to Elton John’s iconic wardrobe with bold colors, patterns and silhouettes: “We got a bit more eccentric.” May 16 “Elton is the real original showman,” says Scourfield, who met Egerton through another client, Egerton’s “Rocketman” co-star Richard Madden. “Part of Taron as a man [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content