Leavesden, the north-west London-based studio where Warner has filmed all 8 Harry Potter movies, is to be refurbished and expanded. A Harry Potter studio tour – offering fans the chance to see the actual sets — will be part of the new Leavesden, which will re-open mid-2012. Warner Bros has got the planning permission it needs to begin building work at the end of this year. Once finished, the revamped Leavesden will represent approximately 1/3 of the dedicated stage space available in the UK for movie production. Rebuilding Leavesden will create 300 new building jobs. Around 1,500 people are employed at Leavesden when production is in full swing. Warner Bros says that it wants to attract outside film and TV productions as well as its own. Given that rival Pinewood Shepperton has just reported “challenging” market conditions in its interim results, with TV bookings dropping off steeply, it remains to be seen whether there’ll be enough demand to fill the 170-acre Leavesden site as well as the sprawling Pinewood Shepperton complexes.
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