Movie industry generates £200m for Scots economy

Scotland’s economy has had a huge boost from the string of film stars, including Brad Pitt, Halle Berry and Scarlett Johansson, who have arrived this year to shoot a clutch of Hollywood blockbusters around the country.

Experts have now estimated about £200 million has been generated by the film industry in Scotland over the last decade.

Glasgow’s George Square was transformed into a replica of Philadelphia when Pitt visited the city in August to film scenes of the post-apocalypse zombie movie World War Z.

Hide Ad

The production brought with it a cast and crew of about 1,200 people, and an open casting was held a month before to recruit local people to be zombie extras.

Producer Jeremy Kleiner said at the time that filming had been “very successful” and thanked Glaswegians for being “incredibly welcoming”.

Just over a fortnight later, the city stood in for San Francisco when former Bond girl Berry was on location to shoot scenes from Cloud Atlas, a film adaptation of David Mitchell’s best- selling novel.

Most of the filming took place in Germany but producers said they came to Glasgow because of the “support and encouragement” offered by the city, as well as its Victorian-era grid street system and architecture.

Johansson was spotted shooting scenes for her forthcoming movie Under The Skin in various locations around Scotland, including Glasgow, Wishaw in North Lanarkshire, and parts of the Highlands.

Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council, said the film and broadcast industry has contributed more than £150 million to the city’s economy in the last ten years.

Hide Ad

He said: “The fantastic work of what the council’s Glasgow Film Office can do to attract some of the biggest movie productions around was highlighted by the transformation of Glasgow city centre into Philadelphia for the filming of World War Z in August.

“The filming of a number of major movies in the latter half of the year brought a multi-million economic boost to the city and showcased not only Glasgow as a destination, but highlighted what we can do to support our film industry.”

Hide Ad

Last year, Anne Hathaway and co-star Jim Sturgess spent four days in Edinburgh to capture scenes for One Day, which was released in August.

Burke and Hare, starring Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis, was also filmed in the city last year telling the tale of two of Scotland’s most notorious serial killers from the 19th century.

In the last ten years, at least 2,720 productions have been shot in Edinburgh with more than 8,628 days of filming.

Ros Davis, from Film Focus at Marketing Edinburgh, said that as a result, more than £30m has been spent in the city.

She said: “We work ‘behind the scenes’ with producers and directors from all over the world, and it’s a great feeling to be able to showcase Edinburgh as the truly wonderful city that it is.

“2011 has been a really exciting year, with some major productions filmed that will grace our screens in the not too distant future. Next year promises to be equally as eventful and we look forward to welcoming some great talent to Scotland’s capital.”

Hide Ad

A spokeswoman for Creative Scotland, which works to attract filming from the rest of the UK, Europe and the US, said production companies spend £20-£25m in Scotland every year.

She said: “Attracting large-scale films such as World War Z, Under The Skin and Cloud Atlas not only shows the credibility of our production crew, it also boosts our economy.”