Warner Bros Discovery has unveiled an extensive expansion project for the UK studios, known for hosting much of the Barbie movie production. This initiative is set to increase the capacity of the Leavesden facility, located near London, by over 50%. The media giant has announced that this expansion will generate around 4,000 jobs, both directly and indirectly, throughout the country.
Furthermore, Warner Bros plans to establish the expanded studios as a primary production hub for DC Studios, the home of iconic superheroes like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. The company anticipates that this expansion will boost the value of its production activities in the UK by £200 million annually, reaching a total of £600 million.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt disclosed this significant development during his visit to Los Angeles and expressed confidence in Warner Bros Discovery’s ambitious plan, considering it a substantial vote of confidence in the UK. He also emphasized that British-made entertainment will continue to captivate global audiences.
Warner Bros plan to start construction for the Barbie movie studio expansion by the summer of 2024, with an expected completion date in 2027. This expansion will raise the number of stages at the facility from 19 to 29, accommodating a broader range of productions.
It’s worth noting that the expansion plan received approval from the Three Rivers District Council in December of last year and from the Watford Borough Council the following month. Approximately 10% of the development land falls within Watford borough, with the remainder situated in the Three Rivers district. Warner Bros has emphasized that it developed this expansion strategy in close consultation with both councils, placing a strong focus on sustainability.
This investment initiative arrives at a crucial time for Warner Bros Discovery, as the recent joint writers’ and actors’ strikes in California have severely impacted its productions, marking the first of their kind in over six decades. These labor disputes have caused significant delays in major projects and led the company to revise down its revenue forecasts for the remainder of the year.