Brexit Could Lead To A Total Shit Storm For HBO’s ‘Game Of Thrones’, And It’s Worse Than I Expected
By now you’ve all heard that the Brexit vote has passed, and the United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union. For the most part it’s still unclear how Brexit will affect the rest of the world, aside from the international markets absolutely tanking (investment funds lost an estimated 20 billion in the first 10min of trading). With that in mind, one thing has been brought to the public’s attention this morning and it’s very near and dear to my heart: Brexit could royally fuck the production of Game of Thrones.
Everything you need to know about Brexit
You see, when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union it will take Northern Ireland with it, and Northern Ireland just so happens to be one of the primary filming locations for HBO’s Game of Thrones. In fact, Northern Ireland is so integral to the filming of HBO’s Game of Thrones that film crews spend six months each year working in the country to make the best show on television, AND they do this with help from EU funds. When the UK officially leaves the EU those funds will no longer go towards HBO’s Game of Thrones film production, they’ll cease to exist, and this could spell DISASTER for the best show on TV. When I first saw headlines about this I expected it to all be hyperbole, but it actually looks worse than I expected.
Shows like Game of Thrones will also be harder — and costlier — to produce, meaning that the real world and the fantasy one will collide to the possible detriment of both.
That’s because if the U.K. votes to leave the EU, it would take Northern Ireland with it, potentially robbing HBO of one of the show’s primary filming locations. It takes a lot of cash to depict Jon Snow and thousands of Stark loyalists defeating Ramsay Bolton’s forces to take back Winterfell, a scene shot there and aired this past Sunday.
That leaves HBO looking for partners to help pay for the show, and some of that money for it comes from the EU’s European Regional Development Fund, created to spur economic growth across the European Union. If the U.K. leaves, filmmakers might not be eligible to draw from that fund. This means that some of the cash used to bring big-budget productions to Northern Ireland could disappear.
HBO would not comment on the possibility of a Brexit impacting production of the show, which is or has been filmed in Spain, Croatia, and Malta, in addition to Northern Ireland. (It has also shot in Iceland, which is not an EU member state.) Northern Ireland Screen, the national film agency for Northern Ireland, also declined to comment.
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As noted on TheGuardian.com, this is no insignificant amount of money that’s flowing into Northern Ireland from the EU:
The tourist industry is now worth £723m and the economy has been further boosted by the surprise emergence of the local film industry, which hosts the Game of Thrones cast and crew for six months of the year. The IT industry is also growing, and there are plans to attract even more private investment by bringing corporate tax down to 12.5%, in line with the Republic of Ireland.
The majority of this growth has been courtesy of the EU itself. Northern Ireland received almost £2.5bn in the last EU funding round, and a further £2bn is promised before 2020. The EU has also helped to create a number of cross-border programmes such as Intertrade, Peace and Tourism Ireland, all of which have been hugely successful in bringing together communities both north and south of the border. Today, Northern Ireland is more integrated than it has ever been – even if sectarian attacks and marching season riots haven’t been eliminated completely.
That’s a fuck ton of funds getting funneled towards HBO’s Game of Thrones that’s about to completely cease to exist. We’re talking billions here, tons of money to stimulate local economy gone in an instant. And this could be the first example of how we’re feeling the Brexit sting here in America.
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