U.K.'s Pinewood Shepperton Submits $316 Million Revised Expansion Plans

Pinewood Studios Entrance 2 - H 2012

Pinewood Studios Entrance 2 - H 2012

Filmmakers Danny Boyle and Ridley Scott are among the big names lining up to endorse the studio facility operator's plans.

LONDON – U.K. studio facilities operator Pinewood Shepperton, recently home to the Angelina Jolie starrer Maleficent, has officially submitted $316 million revised expansion plans to the South Buckinghamshire district council, which will have final say on the studio's ambitions.

The studio space and stage operator on the outskirts of London, which contains the famous 007 sound stage and the recently opened Richard Attenborough stage, has revamped its plans after ambitious plans last year fell foul of local planning permission and were rejected.

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The new look plans, dubbed the Pinewood Studios Development Framework, follows extensive consultation with a wide range of local and national stakeholders, as well as with producers and developers of creative content.

The proposed plans aim to expand Pinewood Studios' existing site by adding a total of one million square feet of facilities, including studios and stages, workshops, production offices and streetscapes for filming.

The proposals have garnered the thumbs up for British industry filmmakers.

Oscar winner Danny Boyle and Olympics 2012 Opening Ceremony chief said: "Many of the great British films which were showcased at the Olympic opening ceremony such as Oliver Twist, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Skyfall were produced at Pinewood. If we are, as a country, to capitalize on our film heritage then we need state of the art facilities like those which Pinewood is proposing to both attract major Hollywood films and nurture and bring on the next generation of young independent British film makers."

Ridley Scott, who shot Prometheus, Blade Runner, Alien, Gladiator, Robin Hood at the facilities said: "I have long been a supporter of Pinewood and Shepperton and believe that they offer some of the best facilities in the world. There is no doubt in my mind that the UK has to keep investing in new technology, skills and infrastructure to keep pace with international competition. The expansion at Pinewood is long overdue."

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And Working Title Films co-chairman Eric Fellner, who produced Les Miserables at Pinewood and was the first to occupy the freshly-opened Richard Attenborough stage said:  "We fully support Pinewood’s expansion plans as the U.K. needs more first class studio space to encourage the growth of the film and TV sector. It will also help maintain the UK’s leading position in the film industry."

The proposals aim to keep the facility at Pinewood competitive and help it continue to attract Hollywood-backed projects and independent movie makers amid rising competition from outside the U.K. 

Pinewood Shepperton chief executive Ivan Dunleavy described the plans as being a "critical opportunity for the creative industries and particularly for the U.K. film industry."

He said: "Global demand for filmed entertainment is increasing and the U.K. remains one of the leading destinations to produce creative content. We have the talent and skills and the government has expressed its commitment to the industry through the various tax reliefs now available. Without infrastructure to meet the rising demand, the U.K. will inevitably turn away business."

British Film Institute chief executive Amanda Nevill also gave her endorsement of the plans, describing Pinewood as being one of "the key building blocks of the U.K. film industry."

Said Nevill: "The capacity of the studios in the U.K. to respond to opportunities is key to the on-going success of British film. In order to secure inward investment and help develop and nurture the next generation of home grown talent, the BFI supports Pinewood’s ambitions to expand and invest."