EXCLUSIVE: UK Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer is expected to hail the biggest selling film of 2023 being “made and recorded in Hertfordshire – not Hollywood” at a glitzy parliament reception hosted by Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) tonight.
TV talent, lawmakers and WBD execs will attend the private Speaker’s House reception in a few hours’ time, we understand, one in a long line of recent events and coming as WBD gets closer to the UK government. A number of stars of WBD shows are expected to be there, along with the likes of its new UK and Ireland boss Andrew Georgiou.
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Deadline is told Frazer is expected to shower praise on the U.S. conglomerate’s contribution to the UK sector, as she points out that it has produced more than 300 television series, 27 feature films and 23 video games over the past five years. She will also flag a major expansion of WBD’s Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire, south England, which will create 400,000 square metres in new studio space, generating an extra £200M ($253M) for the economy and 4,000 jobs.
“Before it was exported to all corners of the world and became the biggest selling film of 2023, Barbie was made and recorded in Hertfordshire – not Hollywood,” Frazer is expected to say. “The more that companies like Warner Bros. Discovery succeed, the more that other companies want to be able to say ‘Made in Britain’ on their productions.”
Frazer will add that she “wants to work closely with companies like Warner Bros Discovery to maximise the potential” of the UK creative industries.
WBD attended a similar event in parliament for the BFI late last year, we understand, and the move comes off the back of a busy few months for David Zaslav’s outfit in the UK’s political and regulation space.
In November, WBD used its Culture Committee high-end film and TV inquiry submission to urge an end to British laws that restrict the period distributors can require exhibitors to screen their films. Along with the likes of Pinewood and Sky, the company has also voiced concerns over a so-called UK film “studio tax,” while its calls for an adjustment to the nation’s lucrative tax credit were heeded by the British Chancellor several months ago.
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