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Pinewood Toronto Studios Expands to Woo More Hollywood Tentpole Shoots

With "Total Recall" and Guillermo del Toro's "Pacific Rim" recently filling its stages, the studio plans for more blockbuster shoots.

TORONTO – Business is good at Pinewood Toronto Studios, so much so the mega-studio is expanding to allow two Hollywood tentpole pics to simultaneously shoot on its stages.

Pinewood Toronto Studios on Thursday broke the ground on a $40 million construction of three new soundstages at 10,800 square feet each.

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The expansion, to include 100,000 new square feet of office space and to be completed in 2014, will come on top of 250,000 square feet of existing stages that recently played host to Columbia Pictures’ Total Recall reboot and Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim shoot.

The Toronto mega-studio is currently accommodating the Robocop reboot.

Either the Toronto studio will be able to host more tentpole movie shoots after its expansion, or provide affordable locations for Canadian TV drama or live TV shoots, which are on the increase locally.

“As industry leaders, we will continue to invest in world class facilities that will attract film and television productions from around the globe.” Paul Bronfman, chairman of Pinewood Toronto Studios, said after helping pull the studio complex out of near-insolvency in 2009 to operate under new investors and management, led by British studio Pinewood Shepperton Plc.

The then Filmport studio complex opened in 2008 just as the local production sector was hit hard by a high Canadian dollar, compared to the American greenback, and the 2008-09 economic recession.

But Ontario deciding to juice its tax credit to a 25 percent all-spend enabled the rebranded Pinewood Toronto Studios complex to woo big-budget Hollywood movie shoots and get Toronto into the business of hosting blockbuster movie shoots.

“The perception in Los Angeles is not only we have great studios in Toronto, we have Pinewood. There’s some brand recognition there,” Toronto film producer J. Miles Dale, who shot part or all of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, The Thing, The Vow, Mama and the horror film Carrie at Pinewood Toronto Studios, said Thursday.

STORY: Ridley Scott's 'Prometheus' at Pinewood Toronto

Pinewood Toronto Studios is also setting aside six acres of land adjoining the studio complex for a back-lot where film and TV producers can construct facades for Manhattan, Paris or Tokyo, or whatever location backdrop they require for their scripts.