Blackhall Studios, the Atlanta-based production hub that has hosted several high-profile shoots in recent years, has signed an agreement with the University of Reading to develop its first U.K. facility.
Due for completion in early 2022, the new studio will offer physical production stages alongside digital media facilities tailored for special effects, augmented reality and animation, and will be located at the Thames Valley Science Park, a tech-hub 40 miles west of London.
“We are delighted to be establishing a base in the U.K.,” says Blackhall CEO Ryan Millsap. “We hope that the site at Thames Valley Science Park will be the start of a series of investments in the U.K. which will see investment in jobs, training and the creative arts across a range of disciplines. The U.K. has a wealth of talent that our U.K. companies recognize and want to partner with for decades to come.”
Blackhall has announced an initial investment of £150 million ($195 million) in these new facilities, and has named Nick Smith U.K. president and COO. The facilities executive previously acted as executive commercial director for Pinewood-Shepperton.
Blackhall’s move into the U.K. market arrives at moment of growth and growing pains for the local industry. The international expansion of audiovisual production has seen film and TV spending in the U.K. rise to over $4 billion last year, while at the time putting the pressure on top-level talent and service providers, who are in greater demand than ever before.
In a 2019 report, consulting firm Lambert Smith Hampton estimated that the U.K. would need up to 1.8 square feet of additional studio space in order to satisfy market demands, while the need for studio space is already at an all time high.