How Blackhall's new £150m film studios will look when complete. Pic: Blackhall

New £150m film studios and digital creative hub to be built near Reading

 2 mins | By Gill Oliver
 | Media | Culture | Entertainment | Education | Construction | Feb 19th 2020

A new £150m film studio and digital creative hub is to be built on the outskirts of Reading, creating up to 3,000 jobs.

Blackhall Studios will develop the complex at Thames Valley Science Park, which is owned by Reading University.

This is the first UK investment for US-based Blackhall Studios, which has worked with Disney, Universal, Warner Bros, Sony and HBO. It has housed production teams for Godzilla: King of Monsters, Venom, Jumanji: The Next Level, Doctor Sleep and the upcoming Jungle Cruise.

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The company says its deal with Reading University is the ‘first of several investment opportunities being considered’.

The studios will feature a high-tech cinema and other facilities which will be opened to the local community.

It will also create a hub for digital media businesses across special effects, augmented reality (AR), animation and e-gaming.

Blackhall’s chairman and chief executive Ryan Millsap said the company’s expansion into the UK was suggested by its US-based clients Disney, Universal and Sony “to meet their desire to create productions here”.

He said: “We are very excited about the prospect of investing in the UK creative industries as one of the most vibrant markets in the world. We hope that the site at Thames Valley Science Park will be the start of a series of investments in the UK which will see investment in jobs, training and the creative arts across a range of disciplines. The UK has a wealth of talent that our UK companies recognise and want to partner with for decades to come.”

Blackhall Studios’ UK president and chief operating officer Nick Smith, who will oversee the project, was previously executive commercial director at Pinewood-Shepperton plc.

He said: “Britain has an enviable array of filmmaking talent, but the industry is short of high-quality studio facilities capable of catering for the new and emerging technologies that will form the core of television and film production in the future.

“The proposals support the UK government’s commitment and desire to see this sector’s annual inward investment deliver £4bn by 2025.”

Reading University chief financial officer Sam Foley added: These proposals will boost the creative and cultural economy of our region.”

The new facility is due to open in 2022.



About the Author

Gill Oliver

Gill Oliver is a professionally trained journalist who’s written for The New Statesman, The Bureau for Investigative Journalism, The Daily Mail’s business section This is Money, The Press Association, The Huffington Post plus a host of national magazines, news agencies and trade and industry journals. She’s also spent nine years reporting on the Oxfordshire business and tech scene for The Oxford Times and The Oxford Mail.

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