A consortium including Fragile Films and Manhattan Loft Corporation purchased Ealing Studios, the world’s oldest working film studio in the UK, in April 2000. The aim is to revitalize Ealing Studios both as a production facility and as a producer of films, as it was under Michael Balcon in the 1940’s and 1950s.
Ealing Studios announced this week that Ealing Council has given consent to the final revisions for the second phase of the £50 M redevelopment of multi-media office space designed by architects, Pringle Richard Sharratt. Construction will begin in November 2006 for completion at the end of 2007. 25,000 sq ft of prime space will be available on a single or multi let basis.
The Studio, built over four acres in West London, is made up of the sound stages, in which the great Ealing comedies were made, and a range of workshops and offices, principally dating back to the thirties. The first phase of construction, three stylish buildings of 33,500 square feet, was completed in 2003, with over twenty film, post-production, animation, broadcast, music and other media companies now making Ealing Studios their permanent home. The second development phase will create two connecting buildings providing additional longer term flexible production spaces ranging from 500 to 25,000 sq ft units.
In 2005, Ealing Studios secured £1.2 m of development funding from the UK Film Council for it’s own and other producers’ films. 2005 also saw the worldwide release of Ealing’s CGI feature “Valiant’ (voiced by Ewan McGregor, Ricky Gervais & John Cleese) which went on to be the year’s highest grossing independent movie in the UK.
This year Ealing Studios has released “Alien Autopsy’ (starring Ant and Dec) and romantic comedy “Imagine Me & You’. Releases for 2007 include “Fade to Black’ (Danny Houston, Diego Luna, Paz Vega and Christopher Walken) and “I Want Candy’ (Carmen Electra, Tom Riley, Tom Burke, Jimmy Carr and Mackenzie Crook) which will be released next Easter. Ealing is shortly to begin production on “St Trinian’s’ to star Rupert Everett.
Other productions shooting at Ealing Studios in 2006 have included Woody Allen’s 2006 project (Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell), “Death Defying Acts’ (Catherine Zeta Jones and Guy Pearce) and Frank Oz’s “Death at a Funeral’ (Matthew McFayden , Jane Asher and Peter Vaugn).
This Christmas, Optimum is re-releasing on DVD many of the classic Ealing movies.