Belfast Telegraph

Film giant Warner Bros tipped for move into new £20m Belfast studio

By Ivan Little

One of the world's biggest movie makers, Warner Brothers, could become the tenants of a new film studio in Belfast.

No official comment has been forthcoming from the Los Angeles-based entertainment giant about being linked with the £20 million North Foreshore Film Studios development.

But it is understood Warner Bros, part of the huge AOL Time Warner conglomerate, has defeated competition from other major players in the industry to secure the deal.

The Disney Corporation is also reported to have been interested in moving into the studios, which are close to completion on a seven-acre site at Giant's Park on what was once a 340-acre landfill site.

The development includes a 66,000sq ft film studio and sound stage, along with a 23,000sq ft workshop for set construction and 32,000sq ft production offices to house art departments, dressing rooms and wardrobe units, plus a facility for outdoor filming.

Planners gave the go-ahead in February last year for the studios, designed by Belfast-based RPP Architects in conjunction with Northern Ireland Screen and prospective customers.

Work started in April 2016 and 200 employees have been involved in the construction of the building on the North Foreshore.

The new Belfast Harbour initiative was welcomed last year by Northern Ireland Screen, which said that more productions would be forthcoming once the infrastructure became available.

It also stated that it was well-known within the global screen industry that the demand for studio space outstripped supply in the UK. The new studios reflect the ever-growing demand from movie-makers for facilities here.

HBO's hit fantasy series Game Of Thrones was based at the Titanic Studios in Belfast, and filmed in locations across Northern Ireland. Last year then Finance Minister Mairtin O Muilleoir said the Northshore studios would be a boost for the film industry.

Three years ago Warner Bros expanded its UK studios, where the Harry Potter films were made. It built three sound stages at a site at Leavesden, 20 miles north west of London.

Sixteen years ago Warner Bros investigated opening a high-tech back office studio development in Belfast. Executives visited the Titanic Quarter for an appraisal of possible investment opportunities.

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