The Studio Impresario

Decades of competition between Britain's historic film studios, Pinewood and Shepperton, ended last year in a merger scripted by co-owner and chairman Michael Grade. "In an international market the rivalry made no sense," says Grade, 59, who has also been one of the U.K.'s most controversial television executives. The merger's rationale was to create scheduling flexibility, the better to accommodate the big-buck Hollywood films that already account for 60% of the studios' business. But a series of unforeseen events has so far left the theory untested. Last June, a threatened U.S. actors' strike prompted American studios to stockpile films and cut...

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