The entertainment streaming giant has swooped to take over 435,000 sq ft of space at the site near Heathrow where films such as Alien and Gladiator were shot. The move is being hailed as a major boost for the UK’s entertainment industry.
Netflix will invest significantly to have 14 sound stages, workshops and offices at the filming venue which was also used in the productions of Gravity and Mamma Mia!
Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix, said: “Shepperton has been synonymous with world class film for nearly a century.
“This investment will ensure that British creators and producers have first rate production facilities and a world stage for their work.”
Netflix first started backing UK original productions in 2015. Its original productions includes Black Mirror, Sex Education and The Crown.
Its first project when the production hub opens in October will be an action-fantasy film called The Old Guard, starring Charlize Theron and Chiwetel Ejiofor. It is renting the space from landlord The Pinewood Group which also owns Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, home of the Star Wars and James Bond franchises.
Reports had previously linked Netflix with a move to the Pinewood studios, but those talks did not result in a letting.
Pinewood Group’s chairman Paul Golding said the deal gives his firm “confidence” in its £500 million expansion plans at Shepperton.
It is adding some 16 new sound stages there which can be used by other production groups.
Mr Golding said the expansion “will help secure the ongoing success of the UK film and TV industry”.
Film director Ridley Scott, a former joint owner of Shepperton Studios where he shot Alien in 1979, said the site “is a wonderful historic place… and one of the most efficient I can think of in the world today”.Securing a new home is a relief for fast-growing Netflix, which has about 10 million subscribers in the UK.
The California-headquartered company has previously warned of limited studio availability in this country.
It is among a number of tech and creative giants looking to grow in Britain, despite concerns Brexit uncertainty could deter investment.
Simon Calvert, a director at property agent CBRE, said: “With an enormous pool of talent in the UK, property owners of large industrial buildings are getting inquiries from all the major film companies.”
The Netflix deal was today welcomed by industry experts.
FI boss Amanda Nevill said: “With all the opportunities it will bring for UK talent and UK expertise to create new homegrown stories to enthrall audiences worldwide, it’s great to see Netflix making their home here.”
Adrian Wootton, from the British Film Commission, said it shows “a great vote of confidence in our creative sector and underscores the UK’s position as the leading choice for film and HETV production”.
The space Netflix is taking over at Shepperton roughly equates to the size of the giant Westfield shopping centre in Shepherds Bush.
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