Joe Utichi contributes to Deadline’s UK coverage:
Pinewood unveiled cutting-edge upgrades to its TV One and Two stages today as it reiterated a commitment to investing in and expanding its facilities. The studio, recently home to features Skyfall, Les Miserables and Maleficent, is keen on TV as a proposed 25% tax break on high-end television production is expected to go into effect in April. The incentive could inject about $570M into the industry. Pinewood corporate affairs director Andrew Smith tells Deadline, “The demand for content is clearly growing globally, and we’re investing in both infrastructure and facilities to respond.” Part of the response is to submit a new application to double the size of the studio.
Already in April, Pinewood christened the new 30,000-square-foot Richard Attenborough stage, designed to cater equally to film and large-scale TV production. Expansion plans to be submitted to the local government in the fall are expected to include more stages like the Attenborough. The application comes after the ill-fated £200M Project Pinewood development was rejected in January. Smith tells Deadline the new plans will not include housing as Project Pinewood previously intended, but will double the size of the studios by expanding on the existing site and the adjacent land.
Maintained in the proposal will be Project Pinewood’s notion of incorporating pre-fabricated streetscapes including a Parisian square, New York brownstones, the canals of Amsterdam and Venice and streets modeled on Prague, San Francisco, Chicago, Vienna and Lake Como. “One of the ideas is to look at wrapping them around stages,” Smith explains. “There was a demand from television and films with restricted budgets that can’t afford to go overseas. The marketing industry really picked up on it, because you could create a global advertising campaign with the streetscapes, so it had a lot of appeal for other areas of the creative industries too.”