Warner Bros is putting the finishing touches to its £100m rebuild of Leavesden film and TV studios, with one of the sound stages already in use.
The majority of the facility is due to be finished in April ahead of the official launch in June, but Warner Bros Studios Leavesden (WBSL) has already taken possession of 31,000 sq ft C Studio, which was used to re-shoot scenes for an unnamed film.
“The fact that we’ve made the move and are investing money and resources to build world-class studios will only have a positive effect in terms of attracting more production to the UK,” president and managing director of Warner Bros Entertainment UK Josh Berger told Broadcast.
Four of Leavesden’s nine stages are the largest in Europe at more than 30,000 sq ft each, with another four measuring more than 20,000 sq ft, and a ninth at 10,000 sq ft.
Warner Bros estimates that the studios in Watford will represent around a third of the UK’s total film stage space.
“Leavesden has always been known as a place for big productions,” said WBSL SVP and managing director Dan Dark.
“People want big sets, and when you marry that with our back lot of 100 acres - no other facility in the UK has that kind of space.”
WBSL is in discussions with three large features but has yet to promote the studios to TV productions.
“It’s hard to say what the split between film and TV productions will be because these things are seasonal, but at Burbank [Warner Bros US studio complex] we have a huge amount of TV productions; our target is simply to work as close to capacity as possible,” Berger added.
Dark said occupancy levels of 70-80% for WBSL seemed “reasonable”.
“We won’t have preferred rates [for Warner Bros divisions]. That said, Warner Bros features will probably be our biggest client, but from a features perspective, Warner is probably the UK’s biggest client.”
WBSL is currently holding talks with “a few leading facilities companies” that want to set up a base at the studios, but Dark said it would not take on long-term tenants at the expense of production space.
“Conversations with one of the facilities companies have progressed very well and they will be on site when we open.”