The famous Elstree Studios desperately needs money and repairs after the filming location was labeled as “dangerous” in a new report.
Elstree Studios, the legendary filming location for films including Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and more, is, according to a new report, in desperate need of repairs. Hertsmere Borough Council, which owns Elstree Studios, and commissioned the evaluation of the studio, is staring down the barrel of a significant restoration bill to the tune of £200million ($256M) to “replace life-expired buildings and ensure its competitiveness beyond the 21st century.”
The report labels the studio’s roofs and stages as “dangerous,” with walls expected to last 10-15 years before succumbing to asbestos rot. To make matters worse, local council representatives say it can only continue to invest in the property if extensive repairs happen. The council is willing to invest £90,000 in consultancy fees to plot a way to preserve the iconic filming location. Still, that’s a significant chunk of cash to pump into a dilapidated venue.
Currently, the studio is valued between £40m to £100m “depending on the purpose of its future use, such as residential use.” That’s not a lot of money, considering the venue’s history and the movie magic created on its stages and hallowed grounds.
Beyond the studio’s failing structural integrity, the report says it is “severely outdated and needs substantial and urgent upgrades.” Sadly, Elstree lacks the funds to make the necessary repairs. There’s no nest egg to borrow from or coffee can filled with cash to dig up for a rainy day.
It’s difficult to imagine the place where chapters of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, The Crown, and The Gangs of London were filmed is in danger of getting shuttered. Countless cinematic gems, famed directors, and A-list actors have created lasting entertainment at Elstree, making this a sad situation indeed. Time is a fickle mistress, and with enough neglect or upkeep, any studio can find itself in a compromising position.
Will the council help save Elstree Studios? How could such a famous studio fall victim to such circumstances? We’ll have to wait to see how this all shakes out. Here’s hoping the studio can schedule the necessary repairs and avoid closure.