Disney has revealed it spent nearly £100m making Mary Poppins Returns, the sequel to the 1964 classic starring Julie Andrews, in Britain.
The film, with Emily Blunt playing the eponymous nanny, brought some Christmas cheer to the British box office grossing £30m since it was released two weeks ago. London is also a star in the film, with some of the capital’s most famous landmarks used as backdrops for key scenes.
The exterior of the Bank of England was used for the offices of the villainous banker, played by Colin Firth, and the finale of the movie takes place on the Big Ben clock tower.
It was made at Shepperton Studios in Surrey last year and Disney has shone a spotlight on its finances. Movie budgets are usually a closely guarded secret as the studios don’t have to report the budgets for them. However, the costs of movies filmed in Britain are consolidated in single companies which file publicly available accounts.
The production companies usually have code names to stop them raising attention when filing for permits to film off-site. Mary Poppins Returns was made by the Cherry Tree Lane Productions – named after the address where Poppins works – which is ultimately owned by Disney. Its accounts for the 17 months to the end of June 2017 show that it had total costs of £98.6m and state that “the estimated final cost was forecast to be in excess of the budget”.
Key costs include equipment hire, travel and props makers. Film-making also drives employment and the accounts show that it spent £9.6m on staff. The average number of employees was 158, not including the self-employed staff who make up the vast majority of personnel on a film shoot.
Several other high-profile updates to Disney’s classic catalogue of movies have been made in Britain. Guy Ritchie filmed an upcoming live-action remake of Aladdin at Longcross Studios in Surrey and Tim Burton used Pinewood in Buckinghamshire as a base for Dumbo, which is also due next year.