Pinewood fears lack of space for Hollywood films

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THE film studio used for up-coming Disney movie Maleficent has warned that rising demand for its facilities from Hollywood producers is leading to a capacity crunch.

Pinewood Shepperton chief executive Ivan Dunleavy said film makers are “concerned” they will not be able to secure the facilities needed as major productions line up to use the group’s studios. It was recently chosen for director JJ Abrams’s highly-anticipated Star Wars movie, with shooting set to begin in early 2014.

Dunleavy said further capacity was a “priority” to meet growing demand and help the UK meet its potential as a movie-making destination. His comments come as Pinewood fights a long-running battle to secure planning approval for a £200 million expansion.

South Bucks District Council rejected its latest application in May after an earlier attempt was also blocked. Pinewood has already lodged its appeal and a public inquiry is due to start in November.

Full-year results posted yesterday revealed that the company has already spent £1.8m on the project, which would double the size of the studios in Buckinghamshire.

Pinewood swung back into the black in the year to 31 March, posting a pre-tax profit of £1.3m, compared with a loss of £1.9m for the previous 15 months.

Film revenues stood at £35.2m, compared with £43.4m in the previous period, after Pinewood bagged a series of major projects, including Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie and superhero movie Thor: The Dark World.

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