Department for International Trade
£500 million boost for UK film industry from US firm
A US firm has announced its plans to build a £150 million film studio in Reading
The UK’s creative industry is expected to benefit from a £500 million boost following an announcement today (19 February) of a major investment planned by a leading US film studio.
Atlanta-based movie studios firm, Blackhall Studios, announced their intention to build a £150 million state-of-the-art film studio in Reading, their first outside of the US. Once built, the site would become one of the largest film studios in the UK, boosting the UK’s film capacity substantially. Once operational, the studio is expected be worth £500 million to the UK economy per year.
The new studio is expected to be built at the Thames Valley Science Park, which is owned by the University of Reading. Blackhall was assisted in securing a site by officials at the Department for International Trade (DIT), who have been working with the business over the past year. DIT officials worked with teams in Atlanta and Los Angeles, as well as the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
Following the completion of the transaction, the investment is expected to create up to 3,000 jobs in the local area, including 1,500 employed at the studio site, from set-building trades and advanced digital skills to physical film production.
Warner Bros, Sony and HBO have all filmed productions in Blackhall’s US studio, with box-office hits, including “Venom”, “Jumanji: The Next Level” and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” produced at their US sites.
Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss MP said:
The UK and the US are each other’s largest investors, and this announcement demonstrates the strength of our trading relationship, which benefits all sectors and regions in the UK.
Blackhall’s commitment is a strong endorsement of our creative industry and the great creatives that work in UK film, and is set to deliver hundreds of new jobs in the area.
I look forward to negotiating and signing a new ambitious free trade agreement with the US, to ensure we can continue to deepen our trading relationship and grow our creative industries.
Ryan Millsap, Chairman and CEO of Blackhall said:
We are excited to be establishing a base in the UK. Blackhall is the global standard for entertainment production space and our US-based clients like Disney, Universal and Sony are all asking us to expand into the UK to meet their desire to create productions here.
They wouldn’t trust just anyone to meet their high standards, so we are delighted to serve them in this way.
We are very excited about the prospect of investing in the UK creative industries as one of the most vibrant markets in the world. We hope that the site at Thames Valley Science Park will be the start of a series of investments in the UK which will see investment in jobs, training and the creative arts across a range of disciplines.
The UK has a wealth of talent that our UK companies recognise and want to partner with for decades to come.
Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission said:
The booming film and TV industries continue to demonstrate unprecedented growth and in 2019 inward investment spend from major international productions topped £3.04 billion.
We know that what brings productions here is the combination of our competitive and reliable tax relief, world-class studios and facilities, exceptional post production and VFX, and an immense variety of locations.
The Blackhall Studios development will be a fantastic and hugely significant addition to this, allowing for even more content creation.
It is particularly exciting to be welcoming new international studio investors to operate here, bringing a fresh perspective to our infrastructure and further bolstering the UK offer.
The potential investment follows a number of positive announcements about UK film in 2019, including Netflix’s statement that they intend to spend $500m making over 50 TV shows and films in the UK over the course of this year.
The new studio is expected to strongly benefit the local area, including the University of Reading, which has a film and TV department and business school. The new studio will be located less than an hour away by train to London, within the UK’s “creative corridor” that is being developed through Thames Valley.
In 2019, the UK’s creative industries attracted more than £3bn of inward investment. This is expected to grow over 70% in the next five years.
Latest News from
Department for International Trade
World Trade Organization General Council, July 2021: UK statements29/07/2021 16:12:00
The UK's Permanent Representative to the WTO in Geneva, Simon Manley, spoke on a variety of agenda items at the WTO General Council 28-29 July 2021.
Red tape cut for wine imports to save British wine lovers £130m a year27/07/2021 08:12:00
Ministers announce intention to remove VI-1 certification requirements for imported wine.
New trade report argues UK should reject 'green protectionism' and harness free market to address climate crisis21/07/2021 11:05:00
A new report published today sets out how free and fair trade can support the low carbon transition and calls on UK to challenge green protectionism.
New UK scheme to drive trade with developing countries19/07/2021 16:22:00
The proposed new Developing Countries Trading Scheme aims to grow trade with lower income nations, supporting jobs and growth across the globe and at home.
Liz Truss's meeting with USTR Ambassador Katherine Tai16/07/2021 12:10:00
A readout of International Trade Secretary Liz Truss's meeting in Washington D.C. with United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Katherine Tai.
Liz Truss visits US to foster closer cooperation on making global trade free and fair12/07/2021 14:20:00
The Secretary of State is visiting the US to foster closer cooperation on making global trade free and fair.
United Kingdom signs free trade deal with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein08/07/2021 16:10:00
The deal will boost critical sectors like digital, financial, and professional business services, slash tariffs and support jobs in every corner of the UK.
Negotiations on the UK's Future Trading Relationship with New Zealand: Update01/07/2021 11:10:00
The fifth round of Free Trade Agreement negotiations with New Zealand took place between 8-16 June 2021.