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Disney spent £100 million making Mary Poppins Returns in the UK

Mary Poppins Returns

Story by Jack Foley

DISNEY spent almost £100 million making Mary Poppins Returns in the UK, the studio has revealed.

The family blockbuster, a sequel to the 1964 classic starring Julie Andrews, features Emily Blunt as the eponymous nanny who returns to the capital once again to help save the Banks family children (now grown up).

Since its release on December 21, 2018, the film has made £30m in the UK alone, bringing plenty of cheer to the festive box office. It is also performing really well in the US.

But shooting took place in England, the home of the beloved nanny, both at Shepperton Studios and on location in London itself.

The film’s finale, for instance, took place on Big Ben’s clock tower, while the exterior of the Bank of England was used as the offices for the villainous banker played by Colin Firth. Buckingham Palace also provides the backdrop for one of the movie’s many dance sequences.

If Disney’s decision to reveal the budget for the film comes as a surprise, then it’s largely because the costs of movies filmed in Britain are consolidated in single companies which file publicly available accounts.

Production companies usually have code names to stop them raising attention when filing for permits to film off-site. For Mary Poppins Returns, this was Cherry Tree Lane Productions, which was a nod to the address where Poppins works. But that company is ultimately owned by Disney and its accounts for the 17 months to the end of June 2017 show that it had total costs of £98.6m.

It also states that ‘the estimated final cost was forecast to be in excess of the budget’ – so nearing, if not reaching, £100m.

Broken down further, these costs include equipment hire, travel and props makers, as well as £9.6 million on staff. The average number of employees on the film was 158, not including the self-employed who make up a lot of any film’s workforce.

Disney is no stranger to using Britain as a location to film some of its biggest releases. Star Wars regularly uses Pinewood and Shepperton, while Guy Ritchie filmed his upcoming live-action remake of Aladdin at Longcross Studios in Surrey and Tim Burton used Pinewood in Buckinghamshire as a base for his live-action Dumbo, both of which are released later this year.

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