9 Hollywood Blockbusters Actually Filmed in the UK
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: the UK production industry is booming. Competitive tax reliefs, world-class crew and state-of-the-art infrastructure have led to unprecedented volumes of content creation. In 2021, film and HETV investment climbed to record levels, with total spend surpassing £5.6b ($7.7b).
Notably, more than £4.7b ($6.3b) of this was inward investment from major international productions, an 86% increase compared with 2020. And yet, while it’s clear that major US studios are taking advantage of what the UK has to offer, clever set design and special effects mean that the audience is often none the wiser.
As we wrap up 2022, here’s a round-up of this year’s Hollywood blockbusters which were actually filmed – at least in part – in the UK.
Focus Features / Universal Pictures. Released April 22, 2022.
9. The Northman
Kicking off our list is the historical Viking thriller The Northman. Based on Norse mythology, the film follows Prince Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) on his quest to avenge the murder of his father (Ethan Hawke).
While brief sequences were filmed in Iceland – where the film is set – the majority of shooting actually took place in Northern Ireland. Hightown Quarry near Belfast doubled as the Icelandic volcano Hekla, while Torr Head, Knockdhu, Portglenone, the River Bann, Clandeboyne Estate and Shane’s Castle were all used in place of Nordic landscapes.
Sony Pictures Releasing. Released April 1, 2022.
Next on the list is the third instalment in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, Morbius. This Marvel origin story introduces us to Dr Michael Morbius (Jared Leto), who accidentally transforms himself and his brother Milo (Matt Smith) into vampires in an attempt to cure their rare blood disease.
Despite being set in New York City, almost all production took place in England, including in Manchester and London, with London’s Crystal Palace doubling as Central Park. Filming also took place at Pinewood Studios in Slough.
HBO. Released August 21, 2022.
7. House of the Dragon, Season 1
Ok so while this isn’t a film, the budget for the first season of the epic Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon rivals that of features and is an excellent example of how high the HETV bar has been raised.
Although some scenes were shot in Spain and Portugal, the majority of the show – which is set in the mythical world of Westeros – was filmed in the UK, with Cornwall, Derbyshire and Hampshire all making an appearance. Notably, House of the Dragon was also the first production to be shot on the new virtual production stage at Warner Bros Studios, Leavesden.
Universal Pictures. Released June 10, 2022.
6. Jurassic World: Dominion
Next on the list is Jurassic World: Dominion, the sixth instalment in the epic Jurassic Park franchise. Taking place four years after the events of the film’s prequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Dominion sees the return of original stars Laura Dern and Sam Neil as they try to mitigate the havoc caused by swarms of dinosaurs roaming the globe.
Filming took place in Canada, Malta and Switzerland, as well as at Pinewood Studios. Five Pinewood stages (including its permanently filled underwater stage) and the outdoor lot were used to create realistic backdrops, such as an arctic crash site.
Warner Bros Pictures. Released April 15, 2022.
5. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Nothing says the UK more than Harry Potter, so it’s only right that the latest film in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, The Secrets of Dumbledore, makes the list. In the third instalment of the popular series, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists the help of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to prevent the dark wizard Gellart Grindlewald (Mads Mikkelsen) from destroying the non-magical world.
Don’t be fooled by the realistic scenes of Berlin and Bhutan; The Secrets of Dumbledore was shot on the backlot and sound stages of Warner Bros Studios, Leavesden.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Released May 6, 2022.
4. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Up next is Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the second film in Marvel’s Doctor Strange series. The film follows Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and telekinetic Avenger Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) as they navigate the alternate realities of the multiverse.
Filming took place on location in multiple places throughout the UK, including London (Richmond Park and Freemasons’ Hall) and Somerset (Burrow Hill Cider Farm). Filming also took place at Longcross Studios in Surrey, where the production team constructed the sets for Sanctum Sanctorum and multiple New York City blocks.
20th Century Studios. Released February 11, 2022.
3. Death on the Nile
Next on our list is Kenneth Branagh’s remake of the beloved British classic Death on the Nile. A sequel to the box-office hit Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile sees the return of Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, who once again finds himself in the middle of a murder, this time on board the SS Karnak.
Although filming was originally intended to take place in Morocco, all filming ultimately took place in England. As well as utilising Longcross Studios, the production team did an incredible job of turning the Cotswold Water Park Nature Reserve into an Egyptian marketplace and the site of the Aswan ruins.
Warner Bros Pictures. Released March 4, 2022.
2. The Batman
Up next is the epic superhero film The Batman, which sees Robert Pattinson take his turn as the brooding Bruce Wayne.
Despite the fictional city of Gotham’s resemblance to the Big Apple, The Batman was shot entirely in the UK, aside from a few exterior shots and stunts in Chicago. Principal photography took place in London, including at the O2 Arena, Printworks nightclub and Somerset House. Warner Bros Studios, Leavesden, was home to the Batcave and Gotham city blocks, while the Gotham City Hall was built in a hangar at Cardington Airfield. The film also made use of the regions, with additional scenes being filmed in Glasgow and Shotts (Scotland) and Liverpool.
Paramount Pictures. Release scheduled for July, 2023.
1. Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One
We’re teasing you with this one as it’s not premiering until 2023, but with a budget of £243m ($290m), we had to include it. Yes, Tom Cruise is back as the notorious Agent Ethan Hunt in the seventh instalment of the Mission Impossible franchise.
As well as Italy, Norway and the Middle East, a significant chunk of filming took place in the UK. This included the infamous motorcycle stunt in Oxfordshire, which was the most-expensive scene ever filmed in the UK. Other locations included Warner Bros Studios, Leavesden, Longcross Studios, London and Birmingham, as well as a small village in North Yorkshire which doubled as the Swiss Alps.