In a boost for the UK production sector and inward investment Warner Bros. Discovery said on Thursday it plans to expand Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden (WBSL) and turn it into a production hub for DC Studios.
Work is expected to commence in the second quarter of 2024 and see the addition of 10 sound stages and 400,000 sq ft of production and support space, growing the production capacity at WBSL by more than 50%.
The company said it anticipated the work to be completed in 2027.
The expansion will boost the total stage count from 19 to 29 and the overall production space from 1.14million sq ft to 1.78million sq ft.
This year’s number one film Barbie shot on WBSL soundstages, as did HBO series House Of The Dragon, and the upcoming tentpole Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom.
DC Studios co-chairmen and CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran will consult with the expansion team to ensure their ideas are incorporated into the new studio and production facilities.
The expansion plan will extend WBSL’s positive economic contribution to the Leavesden community and across the UK. It is anticipated it will drive the creation of a further 4,000 new direct and indirect jobs across the UK and grow WBSL’s contribution to the UK economy by more than £200m, raising the total value of film and television production at WBSL to in excess of £600m annually.
Simon Robinson, COO of Warner Bros. Discovery Studios, said: “Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden is globally-recognised for its exceptional sound stages and facilities, and with this planned expansion adding significant capacity and capabilities, it will be home to even more incredible storytelling for both film and television projects. We are proud to not only be growing our productions in Leavesden and making it the main hub for DC Studios, but also to be growing our economic and community contributions to the UK’s creative sector.”
UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “The enormous strength of our creative industries sees films and television shows made in the UK reaching cinemas and front rooms across the world, including Barbie and the House Of The Dragon series. Warner Bros. Discovery’s ambitious plan to grow its Leavesden studio 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.”
The expansion plan was developed in consultation with Three Rivers District Council and Watford Borough Council with consideration for prioritising sustainability.
Warner Bros. Discovery will launch the CrewHQ progamme later this year to nurture workforce development in film and television production
An on-site training center at WBSL will support existing crew, create career development for people of all backgrounds and foster the next generation of talent. CrewHQ will additionally support regional skills programmes, outreach educational support, careers events, and entry level training.