Arthur's magic turns special effects into £1.4bn industry

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The Independent Online

The British film animation and special effects industry has turned into a £1.4bn business thanks to the success of blockbusters such as the latest Harry Potter movie and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, starring Johnny Depp.

Cinesite, one of the UK's top three post-production houses, said yesterday that it plans to double its workforce to cope with a huge increase in work from Hollywood giants such as Warner and Walt Disney.

The company, part of the Kodak group, is supplying all 500 visual effects shots for the Jerry Bruckheimer epic King Arthur, starring Clive Owen and Keira Knightley. This is the first time a Bruckheimer film has been post-produced in the UK and will mean work for an army of 250 animators.

Cinesite is also the only supplier of special effects for the Hollywood versions ofThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Alfie. It built all the models at Shepperton Studios for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which has just gone on release, and is also building models for Joel Schumacher's forthcoming Phantom of the Opera.

Colin Brown, the chief executive of Cinesite, said the UK post-production industry had never been more buoyant and was now chasing the huge US houses such as Digital Domain and Industrial Light and Magic.

Post-production accounts for about a quarter of all spending by film studios and supports some 15,000 jobs in the UK.