Hollywood Company To Invest $390m In A New Film Studio In London

Josh Wilson

U.S. investment company, Hackman Capital Partners, is set to invest $390m (£300m) in a new Hollywood inspired production complex in Dagenham, East London.

The firm owns Culver Studios in Los Angeles, and Silvercup Studios in New York, where between them major films and TV series have been shot throughout the years including, Gone With The Wind and The Sopranos. Hackman will invest the funds into the site over the next 3 years with the first project to film on premises currently scheduled for mid-2022. 

The council for the area estimates the studio will create over 1,000 jobs and contribute £35 million ($45 million) a year to the east London economy.

Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Darren Rodwell, said on the investment, “Today we’re making history. Dagenham used to be famous for factories and Ford but in the future, we will be equally famous for making films. It’s not for the glamour or glory. It’s about bringing in thousands of jobs, providing education and training opportunities for local young people and giving people hope in these gloomy Covid times.

“I’m hugely proud to announce HCP as our partner. They are the right people at the right time. It’s the ‘reel deal’ for our borough, London and the UK.”

Originally, rival firm Pacifica Ventures – who own the studio where Breaking Bad was filmed – were signed onto to helm the monumental project but decided to exit the deal due to the uncertainty surrounding Britain pulling out of the EU. 

The council, however, even after the venture firm pulled out, was resilient and covered pre-development costs for the project up to $4.4m (£3.4m) and granted the project planning permission over the summer whilst looking for another suitor. Their trust in the idea seems to have paid off. 

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, also referenced the achievement of the agreed-upon plans and what it meant for the future.

“This is a very special moment for Dagenham, our capital and all those who have been working hard to realise this bold vision of bringing new world-class film studios to east London,” he said.

“It is a very significant investment that will inspire further development and creative opportunities, and secure our position as a global capital for film and TV. We are already seeing that the success of this industry will help our economy to recover from the impact of the pandemic, and these studios will play a key role in our city’s future.”

Studio investments 

Investment into U.K. studios was increasing dramatically pre-COVID with Disney and Netflix NFLX +0.2% signing lengthy deals with Pinewood and Shepperton Studios. The purpose effectively is to make sure that their respective productions would always have access to production space through a large scale expansion of both premises’. 

Comcast CMCSA +0.4%-owned Sky and Universal Studios UVV -0.6% also announced they would be building a sizeable studio in Elstree in North London. The scheme would create 2,000 jobs and would house 14-sound stages of varying size. 

The news will come as welcome to the industry during a pandemic that has cast a shadow over the future of the field. The continued investment from the private sector is certainly positive and is a good sign of things to come. Coupled with the continuance of a strong governmental tax credit scheme and a renowned entertainment infrastructure from locations to crews, film and TV production has a lot to look forward to.


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