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Warner opens $155m UK studio

Warner Bros has officially opened its new £100m (US$154.6m) UK studio, which previously housed the Harry Potter franchise.

Warner plans to use the studio, Warner Bros Studios Leavesden, which is based near Watford, Hertfordshire, to produce films, TV series and commercials, though none have been publicly announced yet. Third-party producers will be able to hire the studio’s facilities.

This comes after Warner paid £100m for the 200-acre site in November 2010, making it the only US studio to own a major production facility in the UK. Leavesden includes 250,000 square feet of sound stages, an underwater filming tank and a 100-acre back lot.

All eight Harry Potter films were shot previously shot at the studio, along with the Sherlock Holmes reboot, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Wrath of the Titans.

“Alongside a growing UK film, TV and games production slate, the opening of Warner Bros Studios Leavesden clearly demonstrates the company’s commitment to the UK and underlines our belief in the world-class talent that resides on these shores,” said Warner Bros president and MD of the UK, Ireland and Spain Josh Berger.

He claimed the studio was “probably the single biggest infrastructure outlay the UK film industry has witnessed in decades,” and that it would create new jobs and investment into the UK.

That is welcome news to UK producers, especially those working in drama and children’s content who are currently waiting to hear what shape new local production tax breaks will take.

Dan Dark, who has taken on the role of the studio’s senior VP and MD, claimed feedback from the UK production community had been “overwhelmingly positive.”

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