What was once a factory for Rolls Royce to build airplane engines is the only studio facility in Europe owned by one of the major American studios. While Warner Bros. has been using the Leavesden studios since 2000 for the production of its Harry Potter franchise, they didn’t formally acquire the studio until 2010.
The expansion includes three new soundstages and an additional 100,000 square feet of office space. The new soundstages will bring Leavesden’s total to 13 once construction is complete. Two of the three soundstages will be 17,000 square feet and the third will be over double that size – 35,000 square feet. All three of the new stages will include adjacent office space. Leavesdon along with Pinewood are among only a handful of studios in Europe capable of handling large scale productions. The facility boasts one of the largest filtered and heated stage-based water tanks in Europe, and an 80-acre back lot.
The former airplane factory began its life as a movie studio in 1995 when Eon Productions took over the space for the production of the Pierce Brosnan James Bond thriller Goldeneye, converting the giant airplane hangars into sound stages. George Lucas also used the site to shoot parts of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Current and upcoming productions on the lot include Pan, a prequel to the classic Peter Pan, and director David Yates’ long awaited Tarzan reboot.
In addition to its production space, WB Leavesden currently hosts a studio tour for the public that centers on the “Harry Potter” series, which was shot there. The tour reportedly draws as many as 5,000 visitors a day.