Star Wars brings £150m economic boost to Britain

Production of the next Star Wars movie has brought a £150m economic impact to Britain, reports The Telegraph.

Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens will première in December and sees the return of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill who were the stars of the original trilogy more than 30 years ago. They join an all-new cast including John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Gwendoline Christie, Andy Serkis and Max von Sydow.

Although the première is three months off, the publicity for the movie is already ramping up. Ridley and Boyega were recently in London celebrating with fans the announcement of a new line of toys and products for the film from Disney, the studio that is making it.

The ready supply of skilled staff is a key reason for shooting in Britain. Star Wars is being filmed at Buckinghamshire’s Pinewood Studios and between March 2013 and November last year, the number of direct production staff peaked at 258. Together they were paid a total of £11.2m contributing to the total £147.6m costs of the picture over the period. The accounts state that “at the period end the estimated total cost was within budget.”

In addition to paying staff, other key costs include equipment hire, travel and paying the studios to shoot there – all generating jobs for hundreds more UK-based workers.

Movie budgets are usually kept a closely-guarded secret as the studios tend to absorb the costs of individual pictures as part of their overall expenses and don’t have to report the budgets for them. However, the cost of movies filmed in Britain are consolidated in single companies which file publicly-available accounts.

The Force Awakens is on track to be one of the most lucrative. Its latest trailer alone was officially the most viewed ever on YouTube in a 24-hour period having been watched more than 30m times on the day it was released in April.