(Reuters) – Warner Bros Discovery on Thursday said it planned to expand production capacity at its Leavesden studios near London by more than 50%, adding 10 new sound stages to the facility where much of the “Barbie” blockbuster and HBO’s “House of the Dragon” were filmed.
The project, announced during a visit to Los Angeles by British Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt, is expected to create some 4,000 direct and indirect jobs in the UK, the company said in a statement.
The investment also will increase the value of Leavesden’s annual film and television production by 200 million pounds ($245.9 million), bringing it to 600 million pounds ($737.6 million a year, Warner Bros Discovery said.
The company did not disclose the total value of the investment, located in Watford, north of London.
The investment comes as Warner Bros Discovery’s California production has been hit with the first joint writers’ and actors’ strikes in 63 years, delaying major projects and prompting it to slash revenue forecasts for the rest of this year.
The Leavesden project’s construction is due to start in the second quarter of 2024, with completion in 2027 and will bring the facility’s total stages to 29 from 19 currently.
Hunt said in a statement the Leavesden project “is a huge vote of confidence in the UK – creating thousands of jobs and growing our economy – and means that British-made entertainment will continue to delight and entertain global audiences.”
(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Chris Reese)
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