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LONDON (Reuters) - Warner Bros. this week completes its purchase of Leavesden Studios, northwest of London, and will announce a 100 million pound expansion programme to create one of the biggest filmmaking locations in Europe.
Warner Bros, part of Time Warner Inc, said the purchase of the facility where all eight Harry Potter movies were made would make it the only Hollywood studio to possess and operate its own production facility in Britain. Once complete, the expanded site would represent about a third of the dedicated stage space for major film production in Britain and be able to accommodate several Warner blockbusters as well as third party film and television productions each year.
Warner has used the studio facilities since 2000, including to make the hugely successful eight-film Harry Potter films and other hits including "The Dark Knight" and "Inception."
Warner said its involvement at Leavesden translated into thousands of jobs and had attracted nearly 1.9 billion pounds in film production budgets, or almost 40 percent of Britain's inward investment in film production, over the last decade.
The announcement comes at a time when public film funding is under threat as the government looks at ways to cut the country's debt.
The re-developed Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden, will open in mid 2012.
Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato