Does the UK want to overshadow Hollywood?

Far from having been wiped out by the disaster scenario of the pandemic, the British film and series industry, already one of the most powerful in the world, is riding the streaming boom to overshadow Hollywood. With its spectacular landscapes, its Gothic castles, its avant-garde studios, the United Kingdom has over the years been able to attract more and more international productions.

From the Serie Game Of Thrones to blockbusters like James bond or Star wars, the American film giants and video-on-demand platforms are jostling there for their shootings. “Audiovisual industries in the UK are hugely successful and a big contributor to the culture economyOn a European scale, estimates with AFP Gary Davey, general manager of Sky Studios.

The sector employs around 140,000 people, weighs several billion pounds and contributes to the influence of the United Kingdom in a world where American domination is overwhelming.

The resumption of the shooting of Mission Impossible 7

A sign of its importance, the government authorized the resumption of filming at the beginning of July. Mission Impossible 7, by granting an exemption from quarantine for the film crews. The Minister of Culture Oliver Dowden had even exchanged with the star Tom Cruise to reassure him.

The sector restarted quickly after containment and “the resumption of filming was meticulously prepared», Explains David McGraynor, COO of ITV Studios.

This restart is done at the cost of a very strict health protocol, detailed in a 50-page document that limits the number of people on the sets and face-to-face meetings between actors.

Producers had to become more creative, coming up with original storylines and using new technologies like remote editing to deliver programs on time and on budget.Gary Davey notes. Filming can continue during the reconfinement decided until early December in England.

If theaters are deserted or closed due to the pandemic, and for lack of eye-catching releases like the new James Bond often delayed, “the UK government acted very quickly, which makes the UK even more attractive», Confides to AFP Vikram Malhotra, managing director of the Indian company Abundantia Entertainment. “The UK has historically been the preferred filming location for many Indian films», Underlines this Bollywood producer.
In addition to the English language, the country is full of talented players, has recognized technical expertise and offers favorable taxation for productions with, since 2007, a tax credit.

Streaming energizes English studios

The health crisis could even give a boost, since it accelerates the consumption of films and series in front of its screen at home, even as the switch to streaming in recent years has resulted in a rush to studios.

Sky gave the green light in July for the construction of Sky Studios Elstree, which are due to open in 2022. They will be located next to the famous Elstree studios, which housed the filming of Star wars or Indiana Jones. In the east of the British capital, local authorities have approved the construction of giant studios, a £ 300 million project which will see the light of day in 2022 and intends to become “Hollywood London“.

The British capital makes production life as easy as possible, a source of jobs. Last year, she helped transform a disused factory into a filming location for an HBO production by series creator Joss Whedon, director of several of the saga’s blockbusters. Avengers from Marvel.

Netflix, broadcaster of the series The Crown on Queen Elizabeth II, meanwhile reached an agreement with Shepperton Studios in West London, while Disney has partnered with the famous Pinewood Studios which are expanding and want to open attractions for the public .

In 2019, spending on audiovisual productions in the United Kingdom reached 3.7 billion pounds, including 2 billion for cinema. This last figure is twice that of France (1.1 billion euros or one billion pounds at the current rate) but far behind Los Angeles (7.6 billion dollars in 2017 or 5.7 billion pounds ).

If we can control this content boom, we could grow to 6 billion by 2024-2025“For audiovisual production, promised in September Adrian Wooton, director general of the British Film Commission at a conference. And he concludes optimistically: “All of this does not end with the Covid. In fact there is even more desire.


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