Pinewood studios launches outpost in Dominican Republic

Home of James Bond films continues global expansion with franchise deal designed to capitalise on Latin American market

Pinewood Shepperton, the British studios group where Dancing on Ice and the latest Harry Potter film have been made, has announced a franchise deal in the Dominican Republic, which the company hopes will give it a foothold in the fast-growing Latin American film and TV market.

Pinewood Indomina Studios is expected to be open for business in two years' time, with the construction funded by Indomina Group, a film distribution firm owned by Vicini, a conglomerate controlled by a local sugar dynasty. The Dominican Republic president, Leonel Antonio Fernández Reyna, broke ground on the 20,000 square metre project on Wednesday.

The 35-acre site includes a 75 metre square tank for filming exterior water scenes. It will give the impression of natural ocean horizons and will come with a diving and marine department.

The deal follows a similar joint venture with Studio Hamburg, announced a year ago, which allows the British firm to market 21 stages in Hamburg and Berlin under the name Pinewood Studio Berlin Film Services. That deal is expected to draw business from France and Italy.

Other joint venture deals, designed to give the Pinewood name a global footprint, have also created Pinewood Toronto Studios and Pinewood Malaysia Iskandar Studios, with the latter due to open in 2013.

Pinewood will publish its full-year figures on 8 March and its core UK business is thought to have had a busy year, hosting products such as the 3D film Clash of the Titans and television series My Family. Whether the next James Bond film with be made at Pinewood remains to be seen. The studios have been cast as the Bond franchise's "home" as 20 out of the 22 films were shot there.


Simon Bowers

The GuardianTramp

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