Blackhall Studios, which runs a film production facility in Atlanta, Georgia, is planning to enter the UK market with a major development in Reading. The company said it was proposing “the largest purpose-built film studio and digital creative hub complex in the UK” and that it would incorporate “extensive purpose-built digital production facilities” at the Thames Valley Science Park site.
It is partnering with the University of Reading on the endeavor and has hired Nick Smith, the former Executive Commercial Director at Pinewood-Shepperton, as UK president and CEO. Blackhall said the move would “bring major Hollywood film productions to the UK” and create up to 3,000 jobs. The company has produced movies such as Venom, Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Jumanji: The Next Level. Blackhall said £500m a year would be invested in the complex, which would produce five to seven movies a year and create 1,500 jobs on-site.
The company claims it could create up to 3,000 jobs in the local boroughs, including 1,500 onsite staff, and that it could be operational by early 2022. Ryan Millsap, chairman of Blackhall, said he was “excited to be establishing a base in the UK”. He said the plans were made after the company’s US-based clients Disney, Universal and Sony were “all asking us to expand into the UK to meet their desire to create productions here”.
The announcement was made just two months after Sky revealed plans for a new 14-stage site beside the current Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire in a boost for the creative economy. Netflix completed an agreement last year to create a production hub at Shepperton Studios.