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Britain's Video Game Knight Launches $100 Million Movie Studios To Take On Netflix

November 25,2018 20:25

Britain's £6.1 billion ($7.8 billion) movie industry is in crisis. While British-made content is booming from the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Apple, not to mention more traditional players like Disney and Universal, the country has run out of physical ...and more »



After conquering video games, Rebellion CEO Jason Kingsley is charging into the movie industry.Rebellion.
Britain's £6.1 billion ($7.8 billion) movie industry is in crisis.
While British-made content is booming from the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Apple, not to mention more traditional players like Disney and Universal, the country has run out of physical space to make more films and TV shows.
Studio space is being block-booked years in advance by the largest players, with smaller independent productions being sidelined.
Pinewood, Britain’s world-famous studio used to film Star Wars and James Bond, is this year operating at nearly 100% occupancy across all its sites and warned investors that “demand for production space continues to exceed capacity”.
Netflix recently flagged the issue, warning: “We would like to be able to produce more in the U.K. However, we are limited by the lack of available space.”
The squeeze is also leaving billions on the table as, by some estimates, the U.K. is short some 1,900,000 sq ft of studio space.
“I was told by Pinewood that there isn't any space left, and there won't be any space for a few years,” Jason Kingsley, the CEO of video game studio Rebellion Developments, told Forbes.
Now Kingsley, who leads a double life as a medieval British knight, revealed to Forbes an audacious $100 million plan to upend the industry with a new 215,000 sq ft movie studio.

Rebellion has secured a 215,000 sq ft facility just outside Oxford which will be transformed into one of the U.K.'s largest movie studios.Rebellion.
The facility, a former newspaper printworks owned by The Daily Mail just outside of Oxford where Rebellion is based, is in the final stages of being divided into eight sound stages, the largest of which will span over 25,000 sq ft.
Kingsley—whose company Rebellion co-produced 2012’s Dredd, a franchise owned by the group’s comic book publishing arm 2000AD—said the decision was forced after the group was unable to start filming its own Mega City One series.
“We want to make this TV production in the U.K., because of the talent and the environment and tax breaks, but there isn't anywhere to film it,” said Kingsley, before inspiration hit.
“I know, we'll do it in typical Rebellion fashion. Why don't we find our own facilities, talk to the bank, get involved with various different people, and find somewhere that we can convert into film studios.”

A concept of how the $100 million studio will look once it opens.Rebellion.
Kingsley said the freehold on the facility is “basically being funded by Rebellion’s success in computer games, book publishing, comic books and a lot of a lot of support from our bank.”
Technically this isn’t the first studio that Kingsley has run either. In 2003 Rebellion acquired Audiomotion, a 3-stage motion capture studio in Wheatley that has been used in the production of movies like Gladiator, Harry Potter, and World War Z.
But Kingsley admits his latest venture, which is due to open its doors at the end of the week, is on a totally different scale.

Rebellion's first production, Mega City One, has been stuck in production hell, in part due to a lack of U.K. studio space.Rebellion.
“We've offered technical services on lots of major feature films with motion capture for well over a decade, but we are very good at knowing what we don't know.”
Kingsley expects the site could create as many as 500 jobs over the coming years.
But the first step for Rebellion will be to start drumming up interest from producers looking for studio space, and the CEO says he’s open to everyone.
“There are productions from Sky or from Netflix or Amazon or Apple or any of the new guys, or let's face it, there are fantastic studios out there like Universal, Disney.”
Kingsley also said he wouldn’t be against providing studio space for smaller independent features as a way of co-investing in other people’s projects.
And Rebellion’s own productions, the Mega City One series and sci-fi movie Rogue Trooper?
“My idea is that they would both go into production next year, probably towards the end of next year,” says Kingsley.
Whether Rebellion's studio is the answer to the U.K. movie industry's woes is unclear, but with video games, comics, book publishing and now TV and movie production—Britain’s Disney continues to grow.
Read more: Britain's £40 Million Video Game King Lives As A Medieval Knight

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